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We are called to live in peace with one another. Really, we are. We see so many passages in the Bible about loving your neighbor, doing right, being faithful, being the body, all of these things.
We are even told in the Beatitudes that blessed are peacemakers. We are told to live in peace with one another.
But sometimes that’s hard, isn’t it? Sometimes that’s nearly impossible. That’s why I really like what it says today in Romans 12: 18-21:
If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Now notice, though, that’s not a “get out of jail free card.” You (and I) still have to do our part to live in peace with one another. So, look what it says. Don’t avenge yourself. If you’ve been wronged, don’t worry about getting them back.
As a Christian revenge should not be in our vocabulary.
In fact, look what the text says we should do. We should feed our enemies. Give them something to drink. And then it says in doing this, we heap coals upon their heads.
So, if we do these things, they will feel bad about themselves, right! We win. Well, not exactly. The job of a coal in the sacrifice is to purify. When we love our enemies, we show them God’s love. And we help them be drawn closer to God.
In as much as it depends upon us. That doesn’t excuse us. It doesn’t let us off the hook. We still have to be faithful, not seek vengeance, and love.
But know this. You don’t control their response. You only control yours. If you have done the right thing, if you have shown grace, if you have shown mercy, and they do not desire for things to be right, you know what?
You’ve done what you can do. That’s all you can do. Do what you can do.
You only have control of yourself. So, in as much as you can, live in peace with others. Do your part. Leave the rest up to God. And the results are not up to you.
So you can rest easy.
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