As we look around us, we can find many things wrong from our viewpoint. As we watch the news, we can quickly get upset at what we see. Our culture has taught us to be very judgmental. Have taken time to simply look back over a single day at your thoughts or what you have said?
We are called to be at peace. So why do we find ourselves in such upheaval? Why is it we find ourselves upset, angry, frustrated, anxious, or confused? Could it be we are worrying more about others than we need to?
Sure, we are to care for others. We are to wish the best for others. We are to support others. Perhaps the actions of others baffle us, but we are not to be upset. Perhaps we see people making bad choices and desire to help them, but we are not to be judgmental of them. Perhaps someone offends us, but we are not to strike back. Perhaps we are hurt by another person, but we are not to hurt them in return.
Why do you suppose Paul is telling the church in Rome to be at peace, to not react negatively in return? First, negative actions are not representative of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Second, being angry at someone else saps us of our positive energy. Third, remaining calm and at peace allows us to think clearly and rational. Finally, it is the peacemaker that is called a child of God (Matthew 5:9).
This is not to say that we must agree with everyone. It is possible to disagree with someone and not be angry. It doesn’t mean we don’t correct someone for clearly doing wrong. We can make corrections without being scornful. We call this education or training.
How are we to go about this? It is an attitude change, a change that doesn’t take place in the snap of our fingers. We must work on choosing our words carefully. We also must work on our tone of voice. Do you know that you can say all the right words and still be ineffective and viewed as wrong? It comes down to the tone you use when you speak.
There will be times when the other person is being completely unreasonable and won’t listen to a calm, reasonable point of view. But that doesn’t relieve us of the responsibility of pursuing peace. It does not give us permission to be angry. We are told to be peace with everyone as far as it depends on us.
I pray we all reflect on our tone and our words. I pray we pursue peace with others. I pray each one of us refuse to allow disagreements to drive us to anger. Pursue peace. Choose your words carefully. Moderate your tone of voice. Seek to understand. Live at peace.
Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.