March 26, 2008
How to Live Peacefully
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Entertainment Editor
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9
In college, I did my fair share of watching soap operas.
Now I'm not saying this was an uplifting way to spend my time or something ripe with great Truth. But I will say this: daytime soaps showed me how I didn't want to live.
There was always turmoil and unrest. Just when I thought one storyline was going to resolve, that's when the twist would happen. And it usually involved someone having a secret life, a secret past, a secret twin, a secret love child, a secret hideaway in the secret woods, etc. You get the idea.
The "secret" would be exposed, and chaos ensued. Characters were angry or distraught. Trust was broken. What was "right" was now "wrong." And vice versa. We're talking major discord!
So suffice it to say, daytime soaps are a great place to start if you want a good idea of how not to live peacefully.
Thankfully, as believers, we know how to live peacefully. In 1 Peter, chapter 3, Peter wrote to Christians who were experiencing persecution as aliens and strangers in the midst of a pagan society (can you relate?). Verses 8 and 9 offer practical instructions for those living in such conflict with their culture. ...
Live in harmony... Serve others as Christ served. When the Word became flesh, how did Jesus interact with the world? Learn from his example of how to reach out to those who believe differently than you.
Be sympathetic... Are you interested in others? Are you concerned? Do you take time to listen? People gravitate and bond with those who are sensitive and kind-hearted.
Love as brothers... Most people give their family members special treatment. That includes top priority when it comes to our time, our resources and our affection. What would the world look like if we treated everyone else in this manner?
Be compassionate... Are you a softie? Because of the way God has wired females, it's not hard for us to reach out, shed a tear or share a smile. If you're male, this may take a little bit of work. Start small (children and domesticated animals) and work your way up.
Be humble... Are you drawn to someone who is pretentious and overbearing? Probably not. Humility doesn't come naturally to any of us. Have a sit-down with your pride today and see if you can work in more time for meekness.
Do not repay evil with evil... This is hard not to do. Especially when someone wrongs us. Really wrongs us. Turn the other cheek and "kill 'em with kindness." It won't be easy, but it will speak volumes to the offending party.
Seek peace... If you wonder why you can't ever escape conflict (work, home, relationships), you might first consider yourself. Are you the common denominator in these equations? Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with you.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Kick-start your "living peacefully" crusade by starting with the outside first. Try eliminating an insignificant activity in your schedule or giving something away this week. See if taking an exterior baby step leaves you more at peace on the inside.