The pursuit of peace


In a world marked by division and conflict, the pursuit of peace has become more important than ever.

From personal relationships to global affairs, the need for peaceful coexistence resonates across all levels of society. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul offers timeless wisdom on how to live a peaceful life. Romans 12:14-18 explores the transformative power of peace and the practical steps we can take to foster harmonious relationships.

Responding with Kindness. Verse 14 encourages us to “bless those who persecute us and not repay evil with evil.” Paul challenges us to respond to hostility with kindness and compassion. When faced with conflict, we can choose to rise above our natural inclinations, seeking understanding and forgiveness instead of revenge. By extending love to our adversaries, we create space for reconciliation and open the door for peaceful resolution.

Empathy and Understanding. Verse 15 reminds us to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” This verse underscores the importance of empathy in building peaceful relationships. When we genuinely connect with others, putting ourselves in their shoes and seeking to understand their experiences, we break down barriers and foster a sense of unity. Through empathy, we build bridges of compassion that can overcome differences and lead to peaceful coexistence.

Humility and Unity. Verse 16 teaches us the value of humility and harmony within our communities. Pride and arrogance can often fuel conflicts and hinder peaceful resolutions. By embracing humility, we recognize our own fallibility and open ourselves to listening and learning from others. This humble approach fosters unity and allows us to work collaboratively towards common goals. When we prioritize the biblical model of humility over individual interests, we create an environment conducive to peace.

Pursuing Justice: Verse 17 urges us not to “repay evil for evil but to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” In our quest for peace, we must not overlook the importance of justice. Peace is not merely the absence of conflict, but the presence of fairness and equality. By advocating for justice and standing against oppression, we contribute to the creation of a just and peaceful society. We must be vigilant in our efforts to address systemic injustices while punishing wrongdoers and ensure that all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.

Proactive Peacemaking. Verse 18 exhorts us to “live peaceably with all people, as far as it depends on [us].” This verse reminds us of our responsibility to actively pursue peace. Living a peaceful life requires intentional action and a commitment to resolving conflicts. We must be willing to engage in difficult conversations, seek reconciliation, and promote understanding. By taking the initiative to bridge divides, we become catalysts for peace in our families, communities, and beyond. It also emphasizes that while we may strive for peace, it may not always be attainable due to external factors. However, our duty is to do everything within our control to live at peace with others.

Living a peaceful life is not a passive endeavor; it requires intentional choices and deliberate actions. In Romans 12:14-18, we find a roadmap for cultivating peace in our lives and in the world around us. By responding with kindness, practicing empathy, embracing humility and unity, pursuing justice, and actively seeking peace, we are creating ripples that spread harmony and understanding. As we navigate the complexities of our modern society, let us heed the words of Romans and strive to be peacemakers in all aspects of our lives.

Terri Starcher attends Church of the Messiah in Xenia, is on the worship team, and teaches in various formats.

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