May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.
Romans 15:5 NLT
For a number of years, I was a “pot-stirrer” instead of a “peacemaker”.
Although God longs for us to live in peace and harmony, we tend to live in conflict and chaos. Some followers of Jesus are more apt to shoot those who have been wounded than perform triage, much less help with the healing process.
And, there are some who have scars . . . whether they be physical, emotional, social or spiritual . . . as a reminder of shortcomings or sin instead of survival.
It becomes challenging with those who promote repentance, yet have a problem with restoration.
The 1st century church in Rome wrestled with living in peace, living in harmony and living in acceptance. They struggled with those who experienced freedom in Christ and those who embraced security in stringent and strict life choices. Paul taught an acceptance of both, walking in unity and practicing grace, patience and encouragement through selflessness.
Our Example. Jesus provided a role model of thinking more of others and less of self. Paul reminds us, “For even Christ didn’t live to please himself.” (Rom 15:3 NLT). When we serve others, we surrender all of our wants and needs to Jesus. Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (Phil 2:3-5 NLT). Self-promotion is a stepping stone to sinful pride. It’s all about His kingdom, not our own.
Our Encouragement. Most people are not prone to patience or experts at encouragement. Through God’s written and living word, we have the hope and help to live in grace and giving. Paul writes, “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” (Rom 15:4 NLT). The result of our hope for tomorrow is harmony today. Practicing patience and peace is the proper procedure for those who have been redeemed, renewed and restored. Solomon reminds us, “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” (Prov 12:25 NLT)
Our Expectation. There are positive results from living in harmony and peace. The greatest results are hallelujahs and praise. The apostle encourages the Christ followers in Rome, “May God . . . help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom 15:5-6 NLT). We join with other sinners saved by grace, with other wounded soldiers who have been healed, with the broken who have been mended, with set free captives, with fallen who have been lifted, with rejected who have been accepted . . . and with one voice and one heart . . . give praise to the Prince of Peace and exaltation to the Everlasting Encourager.
Paul gives a closing summary, “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.” (Rom 15:7 NLT)
Jessy and Bryan Matteo wrote, “Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water . . . it will make ripples throughout the entire pond.”
We give grace and He gets the glory. Make some ripples in the pond. Be defined as a peacemaker.