If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18 (RSV)
For seventeen years I was a union member, and in 1965, I was the first African American chosen for promotion to management in my company. I was involved in labor disputes, and I worked hard to prove that the choice had been a wise one.
In 1969, the union went on strike for 102 days. I was forced to cross the picket line, but I was torn. Our supervisor warned us to form car pools and ride together if we were going to cross the picket line. When I saw the men who worked for me on the line, I waved to them, but they turned away.
Then came a zero-degree morning when our plumbing malfunctioned. There were no replacement parts in the house, so I had to head for the hardware store, go home to fix the plumbing and drive to work alone. As I neared the plant, I saw the pickets circling like angry bees. Fear raced through me, and my hands turned cold. I closed my eyes and said, "Lord, help me to keep my peace. Help me to remain silent no matter what."
The picket captain glared, and the pickets circled faster as I approached the line. What would they do? The picket captain stepped back and nodded to the pickets. All at once they removed their hats, placed them over their hearts and sang, "We shall overcome. We shall overcome someday!" They parted and I drove through, thanking God with each hum of the car motor. They had gotten even, but their humor had saved the day.
Dear Lord, thank You for the goodwill that keeps the peace when our differences are serious and our tempers rise.