Face it; in a sinful world there will always be somebody who just doesn’t like you. You may have even given them good reason to feel that way about you. Yet it may have been years ago that you offended them, and since that time you’ve apologized, and maybe even continued to try to make things right with them. Still, despite your efforts, they choose to make the relationship all about them and their unwillingness to let go of the past.
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You sense they would rather have a piece of you than peace with you. You’ve even seen them at their happiest when you were saddest. You never see them smile at you until you express to them how hurt you are by their ongoing grudge.
What do you do in situations like that? Well, first of all you need to remind yourself that your life is to be lived to the glory of God, not to please people. Secondly, you need to remember that it is not flesh and blood that you fight against; it is spiritual warfare, and Satan is behind it all. Third, as much as possible, as you are able to do so, you are to live at peace with everyone.
Yet there are some caveats, and I think that Commentator John Gill says it better than I could. Listen to his take on Romans 12:18:
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably, &c.] Or be at peace, seek after peace, pursue it, and cultivate it:
with all [people]; with those that we are immediately concerned with, in a natural relation; so husbands should live peaceably with their wives, and wives with their husbands; parents with their children, and children with their parents; masters with their servants, and servants with their masters; and one brother, relation, and friend, with another: and so with all we are concerned with in a spiritual relation, as members of Christ, and in the same church state; such should be at peace among themselves, (1 Thessalonians 5:13) ; peace should rule in their hearts, (Colossians 3:15) , and they should study to keep “the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace”, (Ephesians 4:3) : yea, with all we are concerned in a civil sense; saints should live peaceably in the neighborhood, towns, cities, and countries, where they dwell, and show themselves to be the quiet in the land; should pray for the peace of the place where they are; and do all that in them lies to promote it, by living themselves peaceably and quietly, in all godliness and honesty; yea, they should live peaceably with their very enemies, “if it be possible”; which is rightly put, for there are some persons of such tempers and dispositions, that it is impossible to live peaceably with; for when others are for peace, they are for war; and in some cases it is not only impracticable, but would be unlawful; as when it cannot be done consistent with holiness of life and conversation, with the edification of others, the truths of the Gospel, the interest of religion, and the glory of God; these are things that are never to be sacrificed for the sake of peace with men: the apostle adds another limitation of this rule, “as much as lieth in you”; for more than this is not required of us; nothing should be wanting on our parts; every step should be taken to cultivate and maintain peace; the blame should lie wholly on the other side; it becomes the saints to live peaceably themselves, if others will not with them.
I truly like that last statement, don’t you?
It becomes the saints to live peaceably themselves, if others will not with them.”
That’s good stuff! And it is so freeing!
Christian, Jesus spoke of you when He said, “whom the Son sets free is free indeed” (John 8:36). Live like it by loving like it. Love those who hate you. Do good to and pray for those who persecute and speak evil of you. That’s all you are required to do… God will do the rest.
When somebody wants a piece of you, give them the peace of God!