The Priority of Peace
Paul talks a lot about the idea of peace in the book of Romans. There are two different “directions” to peace, vertically with God and horizontally with other people. In Romans Paul says that we can have peace with God through Jesus Christ. Paul also places a priority on peace with each other. In Romans 12:18 we read this: 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Is it possible to have peace with God and not peace with men? I don’t think so. In the gospels, Jesus speaks of a man bringing a sacrifice to the temple to offer as an act of worship with God, to “make peace” with God if you will. But if that man remembers that a brother has something against him, he is to leave his offering, go and make it right with his brother (make peace with him) and then return to offer his sacrifice to God. Jesus places an importance on horizontal peace.
We all know that some people who have wronged us or who we have wronged are not interested in peace. They will not forgive nor will they seek reconciliation. That is why verse 18 above says, “as much as depends on you”. There should not be anyone in our lives that we are “at war” with. There should be no one that we have not sought out to make peace and restore a broken relationship. Again, it might not always happen, but the follower of Jesus is obligated to try. Perhaps one of the reasons people struggle to feel peace with God vertically is that they have not attempted peace with others horizontally. If there is anyone in your life that you have not attempted, “as much as depends on you”, please consider this post your prodding to fulfill this need. Go and attempt to make peace. You’ll not regret doing so.