This post was first published in January 2009.
Last night during our evening devotion, one of our elders led us in a discussion on the Bible’s concept of ‘peace’. We talked about this from many angles, but I’d like to focus on one we didn’t discuss here.
Romans 12 has quite a bit to say about peace and we looked at this passage in our discussion. I would like for us to particularly consider the second phrase in vs. 10, ‘Outdo one another in showing honor.’
Now what does this have to do with peace? I think quite a bit.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that prides itself on cynicism. It is consider good to be cynical and fill all your thoughts and comments with sarcastic cut downs of those around you. We praise such people for being clever with a ‘razor whit’. This mentality not only tears down those around you, but also makes it nearly impossible for you to ever believe a sincere compliment directed towards you.
To me the ultimate shame is when Christians allow cynicism to rule in their relationships. Paul implores us here to see the good in others, and actually compete to see who can be best at honoring others! This is basically the exact opposite of what we do. How many times have you heard other Christians bash the worship leader for singing to slow or too low? How often do we spend our time finding fault in those around us and pointing out their failings to anyone who will listen?
Does that qualify as ‘outdoing one another in showing honor’? Why did Christ die? Wasn’t it because He sees value in each and every person and wanted to give us all a chance to be our best? But no! I’m clever and have seen every episode of Seinfeld, so I have the right to tease and shame everyone around me!
Maybe we should consider that it is our negativity towards those around us that causes strife in our relationships. Perhaps Paul is on to something here…if we each did our very best to honor those around us instead of tearing them down, maybe that would promote peace. The idea of honoring another person is that I….shock…horror!…actually take the spotlight off of myself and shine it on another! I must have the humility to remember that I am not the center of the universe. Why would I want to boost my own ego if I have to hurt others to do it?
In vs 18, Paul sums this passage about how Christians should treat other people by saying, ‘If possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.’ That doesn’t seem to leave alot of room for me to hurt others to make myself feel better.
Find ways to honor those that you live, work and play with, and see if it doesn’t bring some peace into your relationships!