15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by 14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. In so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14–21 (ESV)
One way to handle conflict at work, along with following proper established protocol by the company or institution for which you work, is to follow the guidelines set forth in Romans 12:14-21. While these commands and encouragements are applicable for the home, personal relationships, church and when engaging the public, they also contain practical wisdom for the work place.
Today, we examine Romans 12:18. The text says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Let’s examine the verse.
Even when you and I have attempted to do all which Romans 12:15-17 commands, we may still encounter individuals who are sources of conflict in our lives. What do we do if, or when, that happens? Romans 12:18 provides us with the biblical answer.
Romans 12:18 begins with the following two words: “If possible.” These two words introduce us to a conditional statement by the word if. The word possible (δυνατός; dynatos) means ability and capability. It refers to the believer’s know-how, competency, aptitude and skill.
To do what? To “live peaceably with all.” This is to be our goal at home, church, school, in public and especially at work. The phrase live peaceably (εἰρηνεύω; eireneuo) is one word in the Greek language. It means to live and behave in a way which promotes peace and harmony (cf. Mark 9:50; 2 Corinthians 13:11; I Thessalonians 5:13).
This continuous and active behavior by believers is to be displayed towards all people: fellow believers and unbelievers. There are no exceptions.
However, there is one qualifier found in the verse. It is the statement, “so far as it depends on you.” Peaceable harmony, in whatever situation, is dependent upon the believer taking the lead and initiative. It is not the believer waiting for someone else to initiate the steps leading to harmony, but rather for the believer to take the first step.
What happens if when you make the attempt to be a peacemaker, you receive further rejection and continued conflict? Then you leave it in the Lord’s hands. You have done all you are responsible to do. It is then that it is best to walk away but to continue to lift the particular individual up in prayer.
Dr. John Walvoord writes, “Live at peace with everyone” (cf. “live in harmony with one another,” Rom. 12:16). But recognizing that limits exist, Paul included the words, “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you.” Harmony with others may not always be achievable, but believers should not be responsible for that lack of peace (cf. Matt. 5:9).”
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!