We are seeing a lot of argument and hate at the moment in our news and it got me thinking. Romans 14 v 19 in the Bible says “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another”.
This instruction seems so obvious that it need not be said, but God includes it in His Word because Christians within the church do not hold in check some of the very things that cause so much disunity in this world. The apostle asks us clearly to lay aside the causes of contention so we can live in harmony.
Sometimes we do not understand how competitive human nature is. It is proud. It feels it has to win, be vindicated, and if possible, elevated over others. These attitudes do not make peace. Rather than pursuing the things that cause contention, Paul says, pursue the things that cause peace. It is a Christian’s responsibility, part of his/her vocation. Emphasizing the positive does not capture it all, but nonetheless is fairly accurate a description of what can be done.
Solomon writes in the book of Proverbs “By pride comes only contention, but with the well-advised is wisdom.” Contention divides. Much of the strife and disunity in the church that puts so many off finding Christ by the way, is promoted by those who seem bent on “majoring in the minors.” This is the overall subject of Romans 14. Church members were becoming “bent out of shape” over things that irritated them but had little or nothing to do with salvation. They blew these irritants out of proportion to their real importance, creating disruption in the congregation.
Essentially, Paul tells these people to change their focus, to turn the direction of their thinking, because we agree on far more that is of real, major importance to salvation than what we disagree on. If we will cooperate on these major things rather than on private ends and prejudices, peace and unity will tend to emerge rather than strife and disunity. Paul further tells the irritated members to have faith in God’s power to change the other: “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand” he says.
Why can we not cultivate a spirit of peace by striving for holiness? Holiness is a major issue leading to preparation for God’s Kingdom . Peace is one of its fruits. Why can we not show love for others and strive to do good for them “as we have opportunity, . . . especially to those who are of the household of faith”? Why can we not spend more serious time studying God’s Word, getting to know Him? These admirable pursuits are humbling and serving. They produce peace and put other, less important matters into a proper perspective and priority. If we chase after these things sincerely, they keep the “minors” right where they belong because they tend to erode a persons pride.
Now, surely this attitude is not only for us to take with our fellow Christians but in our every day life at work too?
Have a good week