Living Peaceably In A Violent World

You can't turn on the television without seeing pictures of war, terror and murder. And that's just the prime-time drama lineup - you haven't even switched to the news channel yet.

You'd think that with a real world full of violence and death that we wouldn't want to watch it in our spare time, too. And now that we're living in an up-to-the-minute news cycle, we're inundated with horrible, graphic images on a more frequent basis.

And it's the same listening to the radio, reading the paper or checking out a magazine. If you avert your eyes from one horrible image, they'll just land on another.

Scripture tells us that people and events will wax worse and worse, so Christians shouldn't be surprised at the violence that we're surrounded by. The difference, though, is in how we decide to treat other people.

Ask yourself a few questions:

Will the violence around us simply desensitize us or will it permeate our minds?
Do we start to change our language because everyone else has?
Have we allowed too many television shows and video games into the safe-zone of our home?
Are we even affected by the violence - real or fictitious - around us?

As Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, they were surrounded by anger, violence and terror, too. They were no strangers to persecution, anger and fear living under Roman rule.

Paul outlined the Christian conduct that was expected of these early believers, regardless of what was happening around them. They were to be diligent in their businesses, given to hospitality and be of the same mind with others in the church. This wasn't an outrageous expectation when they had complete faith in the Lord.

And then come these verses:

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. (v14)
Recompense no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. (v17)
If it be possible, as much as liveth in you, live peaceably with all men. (v18)

What Paul didn't write was "Go ahead and do what you need to do to survive. It's a violent world, so just give as hard as you get. God will understand that it was easier to be this way."

That sounds ridiculous, but the idea of living peaceably in a violent world seems as far away as the moon. Times have changed and life is tough, right? Surely God would be on our side if we had to fight fire with fire, right?

The answer is a resounding NO. If it is possible, as much as you are humanly able, live peaceably. Let the violence end with you. Allow the hateful words to stop at your doorstep. Turn off and tune out before your heart reaches its maximum level of ugliness.

Live peaceably - praying for those who would do you harm.
Live peaceably - treat everyone you meet today with kindness, whether they return it or not.
Live peaceably - be so peaceful in yourself because of Christ that nothing else distracts you.
Live peaceably - speak and act like the child of God you are.

Living peaceably because of what Christ has done for you can make all the difference in a violent world.


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