Peace with others.
Anyone else feeling a bit overwhelmed by all God showed you the first three weeks? We are digging up stuff from the past, re-evaluating the truth of our present, and dreaming for a peace-filled future. Why do we do this? There are many reasons, but one is so we can bring the peace we have inside to the other people around us. Being a peacemaker must extend past our own heart and into the lives of others.
When pursuing peace with others, we must go further.
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
This can be difficult in a season of disputing. We feel justified in defending ourselves and making a solid case for what we believe to be the truth. There is a time to stand for what God yes, absolutely, but there is also a time to show more love than logic. We do not respond to evil with evil– we respond with love. We don’t walk away after a rift in friendship– we do everything in our power to bring about peace.
This week is about reaching outside our own wants, pride, and comfort zones to bring people the peace of Jesus… whether we like it or not.
“Search me, God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139: 23-24 NIV
Does anyone else’s voice trail off as you pray those words? Allowing God to look into our most vulnerable places is humbling and a bit terrifying. The real fear is what exactly He will reveal when we allow him to search that deep. When it comes to our relationships, it begs the question, “Have I been blaming others for the turmoil in my life when the fault was mine all along?”
In other translations “offensive way” is translated as “wicked way” and “path of pain.” Sometimes we allow our bitterness to become offense towards others (whether it be a person or group of people). We filter everything we say and do through that offense. We find ourselves angry, prideful and resentful–walking a path of pain. This isn’t what God intended our relationships to look like and, honestly, it’s exhausting.
It can be painful to dig out sin, but it is much more painful to allow it to continue growing in your heart. Let’s allow God to go deep today and remove the wicked ways in us, so that we can fulfill our purpose to love God and love others.
1.) Pray Psalm 139:23-24 out loud, inviting God to search your heart.
2.) Ask God, “What expectations do I had that were not met by others? How has this led me to grow bitter and build up offense in my life?”
3.) Next steps. Do you need to apologize for your behavior toward someone? Write out what you need to say.