I find Paul’s words to the Romans as challenging as they are beautiful: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (12:18). While it takes two people to live at peace, Paul urges us to do everything in our power to restore the relationships that sin has broken.
How do you do that? In Romans 12, Paul points to a few vital truths. First, don’t be proud. One percent of the time, like in cases of child abuse, sin is one-sided. But the other 99 percent of the time, two sinners are involved in the situation. She escalated it . . . but I might have started it. He threw this massive stone in our marriage . . . but I threw a thousand small ones first. Living at peace starts with humility, with owning our part and confessing, not excusing, our sin. So don’t let your hurt take away your humility.
Second, love them. Bless those who persecute you. Rejoice when they celebrate. Overcome the evil they did by doing good. Use your hands not to pick up the sinful stones they threw at you but to serve and love them. That might not guarantee healing, but it’s God’s best path forward.
Those steps remind me of Jesus. So humble that he chose the cross for us. So loving that he loved his enemies. So committed that he didn’t just forgive us; he reconciled us to God! He did everything possible to live at peace with us for ever and ever. Amen!