Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Peace doesn't just happen. Only those who enjoy a peace maintained by others can carelessly entertain the notion that peace comes easy. It involves hard aggressive work, and has many components. Peacemaking is a basic Christian work, and is vitally important to the ministry of any church.
Romans 14 clearly communicates many of the vital components of Christian peace. I’ll list some of these:
- All parties must have a commitment to aggressively pursue peace. 14:19
- Those who are mature in their faith, and in the processes of peace (in chap. 14: “the strong”) must take responsibility for those who have no experience in or do not understand the importance of making peace. (in chap. 14: “the weak”) 15:1
- The strong must do this by avoiding counterproductive arguments. 14:1
- The strong must avoid despising or rejecting the weaker person. 14:3
- We must each accept the Lord’s jurisdiction over ourselves and others, and that we have no jurisdiction over other Christians except to the extent given by our Lord. 14:3-12
- The strong must accept that the Lord may truly be behind their brother’s weak conscience. 14:14
- I must accept that my brother in Christ is primarily responsible to the Lord not me. 14:4
- I must accept responsibility for not causing my brother to stumble or fall in his Christian walk. 14:13
- We must both seek to build each other up (edify)… not tear down. This is a central principle in Christian love: to always seek the benefit of the other. 14:19b
- The strong must control their liberty by denying themselves some behaviors they believe they have liberty from their Lord to practice, but the behavior offends their brother in Christ. 14:19-23 Some may call this hypocrisy. Well… It is not hypocrisy to refrain from liberty when that liberty may harm or offend another person, it is Christian charity.
- I must refrain from “spying out” the liberty of my brother. Galatians 2:4 This is a form of unjust judgment, and taking unwarranted jurisdiction.14:4 This could also be a breach of trust between friends.
Peace is intentional. Plan and work at it... today.