It is hard to walk away from a conflict knowing that there will be no resolution or reconciliation. I have to remind myself that I am only responsible for my actions. I cannot make someone forgive me or accept my forgiveness. I can only apologize when I have offended others and offer forgiveness to those who have offended me. Their response is out of my hands and I cannot dwell on it. That is so much harder than it seems. I honestly want to live at peace with everyone but the truth is that sometimes it will be impossible.
I am reading a book called Blessed Are The Peacemakers by Neil Anderson and Charles Mylander. It has reminded me that before any type of reconciliation or restoration can occur between individuals, it must first occur between each individual and God. We cannot truly fix our relationship problems until our relationship with God is fixed. What that means is we all have to look at ourselves before looking at others. Jesus taught that. He said that we are too busy pointing out the speck in someone’s eye while we have a plank stuck in ours. If we truly want to live in peace with others we have to live in peace with God first.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that Petra’s Godpleaser is playing as I type this. That song only reinforces what I am talking about. Before everything else, our primary concern should be to please God. If we are truly saved then we should live like it. There is a quote on page 30 of the book I mentioned that I think applies.
People do not always live what they profess, but they always live what they believe.
There is so much truth in that simple sentence. As a Christian, I claim to believe that Jesus lived a perfect life, died for my sins, and was raised from the dead so that I could have eternal life. Because of this, I claim to love others so much that they are pointed to Him so that they can experience the same thing. That’s what I SAY I believe. Is that how I really live my life? To use the old phrase, do I put my money where my mouth is? Am I living a life that glorifies God and makes others want to know Him, or am I just cruising along, making sure that I am okay?
What does it look like to truly live what I believe? What kinds of changes do I have to make for my actions to be 100% consistent with my professed beliefs? This is something I have struggled with my entire life. Honestly, I don’t believe that any of can be 100% consistent. We sometimes give in to that sinful nature that is kicking and fighting to regain control of our life. Paul talks about that struggle in Romans 7:15 (NIV) when he says:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
I understand that we cannot be perfect but if we are truly justified (forgiven) and are being sanctified (made righteous), it should be obvious. As we draw closer to God, we should look more like Him. Paul says that we are to no longer conform to this world’s standards but should be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Regardless of how others think and live, I should be following Jesus’ example. I am to stand for truth in such a way that I demonstrate His love and His grace to others. That is what I have been commanded to do.
Once again, what does that look like?