When You Seek To Pursue Peace With Others
When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law.
1 Corinthians 9:20
I want to focus our attention today on the concluding verses in Romans 14. Read verse 19 slowly and thoughtfully. “So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” On the basis of that great statement, consider the first of four action steps.
1. Concentrate on things that encourage peace and assist others’ growth. An idea that works for me is to filter whatever I do through a twofold “grid”—two questions that keep me focused: (a) Is this going to make a lot of waves, or will it encourage peace? (b) Is this going to hurt and offend, or will it help and strengthen my brother or sister? Let’s commit ourselves anew to encouragement and affirmation.
2. Remember that sabotaging saints hurts the work of God. “Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food” (v. 20). You sabotage the saints when you flaunt your liberty, knowing that they have convictions against it. That is not fair. Frankly, that is fighting dirty. Scripture calls it “regarding with contempt” and counsels us against it. Enjoy your liberty with discretion.
3. Exercise your liberty only with those who can enjoy it with you. I repeat, that means to keep it private and personal. What others don’t know can’t hurt them. That’s not deception; it’s wise and necessary restraint. It isn’t prompted by hypocrisy but by love.
4. Determine where you stand and refuse to play God in anyone else’s life. That may sound simple and easy, but it is tougher than it may seem. Be absolutely sure you are right, then press on, regardless. By letting others be, you free yourself to give full attention to what God is trying to make of you. You have neither the time nor the energy to keep holding on. Love demands that you let go.