Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pursuing Peace Week 4: 10 Ways to Live at Peace with Others

As we enter the 4th week in our series on Pursuing Peace, I realize December is fast upon us. My calendar is filling up fast with all the Christmas programs, parties, and get-togethers. Peace is hard to imagine in the midst of SO MUCH going on. 

And yet, as I read God's Word and examine what He has to say about "peace," I am convicted by the number of times He tells us to live in peace.
"...Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you."

2 Corinthians 13:11 (emphasis mine)

So, how do we do this?

1. Forgive. In Matthew 6:15, Jesus tells us that if we don't forgive, God will not forgive us. We are all sinners in need of God's love and mercy. We must forgive those who wrong us in order to restore peace in our relationship. Even if that person hurt us deeply, we are still called to forgive. We may not be able to forget and we may need to use extra caution around that person in the future, but in order to live at peace, forgiveness is essential.

2. Forget. If possible, let it go. Don't dwell on the harmful words spoken or actions taken against you. When we "sow in peace," we "raise a harvest of righteousness" (James 3:18). That is, when we live in peace with others, we create a climate where righteousness can thrive. Stop mulling over the past and move on in hopeful expectation of a better, more peaceful future.

3. Respect those in authority. No matter how much we disagree with our spouses, our spiritual leaders, or government officials, they have been appointed to their positions by God, and we must respect them and submit to their authority. We will only have peace in our lives when we accept the hierarchical order God created and not rail against it. 
"Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in high regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other."

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (emphasis mine)
When read in context, this passage refers to our relationship with church leaders, namely elders and deacons. Part of being a peacemaker means submission to those in authority over us. My job, then, is to submit so that peace prevails, whether in the church, in my family, or in the world at large.

4. Stop talking & listen. We all have our own opinions. Instead of pushing ours on everyone else, stop and listen. Respect others' opinions even if they don't make sense or you don't agree. 
"...Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."

James 1:19-20 
5. Learn to compromise. Some people absolutely refuse to compromise: "It's my way or the highway." There's a reluctance to give up power or control; yet, giving in and letting others have their way at times helps create a peaceful atmosphere. That being said, you should never compromise your integrity or commitment to God to keep the peace!
"Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife."

Proverbs 17:1 
6. Get over ourselves. Stop dwelling on all the ways so-and-so has offended us and move on. When we think we deserve more or to be treated better, we make ourselves gods and push God down below our level. Sometimes we need to just get over ourselves.
"...Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

Romans 12:3
7. Extend grace. Just as God has mercifully shown me grace that I don't deserve, I can do the same by overlooking minor flaws and giving others the benefit of the doubt.
"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful..."

Luke 6:36   
8. Practice the Golden Rule. To live at peace with others, treat them as you want them to treat you. It's really that simple.
"So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

Matthew 7:12 
9. Avoid argumentative people. Sometimes we may try to live at peace with people who won't accept our kindness. Sometimes peace will not come about because the other person isn't willing to accept or work toward it. Peace takes 2 willing people.
"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

Romans 12:18 (emphasis mine) 
By nature I am a people-pleaser. I aim to make and keep the peace because I dislike confrontations and conflict. But I have learned over the years that some people do not want peace. Instead, they delight in argument. No amount of work on my part will ever create peace between us if that person is unwilling to make the effort. My advice: Stay away from these people.

10. Stay in constant communion with God. That means being in the Word and praying to God regularly. You have probably heard the expression
"No God, no peace. Know God, know peace." 
When we truly know Him by spending time in the Bible and in prayer, we will be at peace with ourselves and with others.

What about you? How do you strive to live at peace with others?

Praying God's richest blessings of peace for you,
Other posts in our series on Pursuing peace:
Pursuing Peace Week 3: 5 Tips for a More Peaceful Holiday Shopping Experience
Pursuing Peace Week 2: Submitting Our To-Do Lists to the Lord
Pursuing Peace: A Series to Help Us Enjoy the Holiday Season
Pursuing Peace Week 1: What is Peace?

Linking up with: The Better MomMonday Mom MusingsRaising ArrowsTime-Warp Wife, Artful Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesdays, Top 10 Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Leaving a Legacy, Women Living Well WednesdaysRaising HomemakersRaising Mighty Arrows 


  1. Love this! I totally agree with all you said - and was taking mental note of some of the ones I need to improve on. I also like the "benefit of the doubt" rule - always give it. When we disagree, or are bothered...always give the benefit of the doubt - assume they didn't do it to hurt or disagree purposefully; people generally do the best they can with the tools they have - that releases a lot of the frustration. Thanks for your thoughts. Christy

  2. I agree, Christy. It's easy to think someone has it out for you when really they don't. Again, I repeat: Just get over yourself! It's very unlikely someone is intentionally trying to hurt you.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


  3. Keri ~

    A lovely blog with a most helpful reminder, especially during this time of year when normal routines are altered with more hospitality, more activities and more distractions. PEACE...and a blessed Christ~mas.

    In Him,

    Jarnette @ Seasons of Life

    1. Thank you, Jarnette.

      Blessings & peace to you and your family, too! Thanks for stopping by.