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Seek peace in all your relationships

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By Jon Rohr

Once when I was a kid, I had the audacity to ask my grandmother why she was wearing so much makeup. And believe me, it was a lot. Not in the bold eyeliner and big lashes kind of way, but just thick. Like if she talked too much it would start to fall off in chunks.
Early in our lives we learn to filter the words we say. That’s part of growing up. Now that I’m grown up, I try to censor what comes out of my mouth. Of course sometimes what I think is not quite as charitable.
For example, when someone passes me in a blind curve, a choice thought or two may pop into my head. As they are zipping by, my heart jumps into my throat. I am afraid they are going to get someone killed, maybe even me. Especially since I am usually going at a pretty good pace myself.
When our emotions get riled up like that we can be a little unkind. But I am reminded that the Lord tells us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18 NIV). I need to try and practice forgiveness and charity toward others. But did you notice it says, “If it is possible.” You see I am only one side of that relationship equation. The other person has a role as well.
Before God, I am responsible for my actions, my words, even my attitudes. Though I may be afraid or upset I have a responsibility to measure my words and actions carefully. I should be striving for peace in even the most trying circumstances.
The Lord knows that we only control one side of any relationship. That other person, whether a reckless driver or a very forgiving grandmother, has some responsibility as well. We are called to do the best we can, but it is not always up to us.
Some people have wounds that run deep and because of those wounds, out of fear, out of anger, they lash out, pushing even friends and family away. They have trouble forgiving and even being forgiven.
Do you have someone like that in your life? Be gentle and as kind as you can. Seek peace in that relationship. And call on the Lord. He is the only one who really knows our hearts and our hurts. You may not be able to make peace, but Jesus is the prince of peace and he can bring peace to troubled hearts.