Have you ever struggled with everything in you to get along with someone, and did it seem that no matter how hard you tried, there just was no way to keep peace with that person?
Or, have you had times that something you said in conversation was misinterpreted and you were thought to be making inuendos that truly hadn't even entered your mind?
No matter how hard you try to get along with others at home, at work, and in your neighborhood, the fact is that there will always be someone that you just can't get along with no matter what you do.
And it doesn't help that people are so inclined to "speak their mind" when the things that are on their minds are often things that don't need to be spoken at all. People tend to blurt out whatever insults cross their minds when they have been offended, usually without stopping to consider whether or not offense was intended, or what the consequences of their actions could be.
What can you do when you encounter that spouse, neighbor, colleague or stranger that you just cannot get along with?
Romans 12:18 tells us:
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
The phrase "If it is possible," suggests that the writer was well aware that there are some people who love a fight...and love to be 'right' whether they are or not.
In the eyes of these people, they are not at fault and no matter how unfair or unrighteous their actions are, somehow they always feel justified in what they do.
"As much as depends on you,..."
Strive to be at peace with everyone. But know that sometimes it doesn't depend on you. When you have done all that is in your power to maintain peaceful relations with those in your life, and you still find that conflict is inevitable, know that by doing your part to keep peace, you not only maintain a pure heart and clear conscience, but you have an opportunity to demonstrate the forbearance and love of God through your conduct.
You understand also that by striving to demonstrate forbearance and the love of God to such a person, your failure to rise to the bait may be construed as 'weakness'- but remember the true strength that was demonstrated by Jesus during his crucifixion. He was beaten, mocked and insulted by the soldiers before he was nailed to the cross. But He did not respond likewise to them. He did not insult them in return, nor threaten them. He responded by praying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34
He repaid their evil with the ultimate kindness- His prayer and the offering of His body for their salvation.
*Photo courtesy of: http://www.sxc.hu