The last sub-point I wanted to make in Sunday’s message was titled “Do Your Best.” Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” I love the encouragement to take responsibility to work hard at bringing peace, i.e., “so far as it depends on you.” I’ve heard it said, “If the conflict remains, it should be in spite of us, and not because of us.”
Romans 12:18 is also helpful because the first two words, “If possible,” addresses situations when my best just isn’t good enough. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, things don’t get better. There can be lots of different reasons for this, but honestly, it’s very frustrating when this happens. So what am I supposed to do when I’ve been loving, patient, and merciful, but nothing changes? When this is the case, my “go-to” verses are 2 Timothy 2:22-26:
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
- It’s good to know that evil behavior by others was anticipated in Scripture.
- God will have to intervene in order for the other person to change.
And 1 Peter 2:19-25:
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
- The best course of action is to follow the example of Jesus and put our trust in God.
- Because of Christ, we can live to righteously and experience healing as children of God.
May God’s grace and mercy, shown to you through Jesus Christ, heal your wounds and give you peace as you persevere in loving those who are hard to love.