Pursue Peace with Everyone

July 28, 2017 | Tags: , ,

Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.

-Hebrews 12:14

It is overwhelmingly hard to deal with difficult people. Difficult people don’t want to accept help, even when help is offered to them. Difficult people refuse to take the sensible way, instead going their own way, only to find themselves in a greater bind than before. Difficult people are unhappy, and yet, they cannot be satisfied in their unhappiness, so they want to make everyone else unhappy too. Difficult people are, in short, difficult.

It is easy for us to point fingers at others, calling them difficult to deal with. But here’s the truth–I’m one of them too. Sometimes, I don’t want help. I want to do it on my own. Sometimes, I don’t want to take the sensible way. I want to take the short cut, even when I failed the last time I took the short cut. Sometimes, I am unhappy, and for some strange reason, I feel better if others are unhappy to. Why? Because I’m a sinner. That is my inherent nature. I am just what God said in His word–“There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10).

But this is good news for all of us! Jesus came to save sinners and to offer them a free gift–His own body as a living sacrifice for our sins. He took our guilt. He took our blame. He took our sins to the cross, and instead, we get to receive His righteousness. We did nothing to deserve it. We did nothing to earn it. We can simply receive it and praise Him. But we need to make the choice to do so. It is not automatic. We must come to a moment in time where we make a decision to turn from our sin and turn to Jesus, believing He died on the cross for us and rose from the dead to give us new life. That’s the message of truth. And that is how we are saved.

So what does that have to do with dealing with difficult people? The answer is grace and forgiveness. Because Jesus died for my sins and I now stand forgiven before the Father, I can forgive others and know that Jesus died for their sins too. I can pursue peace with difficult people by entrusting myself into the hands of my heavenly Father, allowing His grace to cover my interactions with them. I’m a sinner too. So are they. We are on even ground. But God’s grace covers us, and then we can have peace. We can be holy by treating them the way Jesus commands in His word through the power of the Holy Spirit. And in this, we can see the Lord. We will see peace flow like a river. And we are blessed because our conscience is clear before the Father, even if the other person persists in their difficult ways.

We need God’s help to do this. We need to pray and follow the commands of our Lord in Scripture. We need to persevere and endure suffering. We need to love others who are otherwise acting unlovable. That’s what Jesus did for us. We need to do it for others. That’s the gospel. It’s a gospel of grace, unconditional love, and forgiveness. That’s how we see God. Let’s do it.

Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to Him forever and ever. Amen.

-Hebrews 13:20-21

By Courtney Silberman

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