If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Rom 12:18)
When using this text as a guide for how to do relationships well, it is too easy to use those first four words as our escape clause … “if it is possible”.
There are many broken or unhealthy relationships that we are very quick to write off as impossible. Things have gone sour, friendships have become untenable, families have become dysfunctional because “it’s just not possible” to make them work. Sound familiar?
Undoubtedly, there are situations and circumstances where maintaining a healthy relationship becomes impossible; where there is no more that can be done to restore good friendships; where things come to a complete impasse. I absolutely believe that is true.
I think that’s true in FAR LESS situations than we actually accept it.
It’s the next seven words of the verse that are the key “as far as it depends on you” – whatever it takes, as long as it needs, as much as it costs, as often as it’s required – we need to grow in persistence. We are all too quick to justify and defend relational breakdown. We walk away from friends or family, give up on people and relationships well before we have done EVERYTHING we can to bring grace and restoration.
“We just need to agree to disagree.” “I said sorry and they didn’t accept it.” “They breached my trust so I can’t talk to them anymore.” “They said they’d do something and they didn’t – they’re too unreliable.” “They hurt my feelings and don’t seem to care.”
How many relationships have you written off or people do you avoid or distance have you allowed to develop and you KNOW you haven’t done everything you could – as far as it depends on you. How often have you been hurt and not given the other person a legitimate chance to be part of restoring what was broken? How often have you chosen to protect yourself in pride rather than offer yourself in humility?
As far as it depends on you.
This is an invitation to a far better way of doing life and relationships. It’s the key to a deeper and richer kind of love – not marked by self-focuse and self-gratification, by bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness but by grace, understanding, generosity and humility.
We need to grow in love, grow in understanding, grow in forgiveness, grow in humility and grow in persistence. Even the slightest level up in any of these areas will bring transformation to our relationships – our friendships and families, in our workplaces and marriages. I guarantee it.
As far as it depends on you – I dare you! I dare you to take a step forward in any of these things. To let God empower you to change, to be more aware, to be moved, to be humble, to let go, to change your focus – to do what IS possible, as far as it depends on you, to live at peace with everyone.