“Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:31-32 CSB
How do we show love and how can we be a peacemaker in our relationships? We love others and bring peace to our relationships when we follow what is true and do good.
God’s Word has a lot to say about how to treat one another and what our inner attitude should be. The basic principle is the one of imitation–we treat others imitating the way God treats us. For example, we know God wants us to forgive and not harbor hostility in our hearts. We need to forgive others as He forgives us in Christ. This is a truth that applies to every relationship.
Speak Truth to One Another
It is important to not only think truth but also to speak truth to one another. God’s Word says we are all members of one body. When we are motivated by love and wish someone well, with God’s help we will find the time to discuss difficult issues and conflicts. Truth brings freedom and the possibility to heal.
Peace means getting rid of any hostile attitude. To make peace is to get rid of lies, anger, unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander, along with every form of malice, jealousy, and hatred. When we recognize such things in our hearts, we need to be quick to ask and accept forgiveness from God and invite Him to purify our hearts.
Love and Peace in our Relationships
The framework and motivation of all our relationships should be sincere love and acceptance of one another. This love involves recognizing and focusing on what is common among us and what connects us. We all have a common origin–we are made in the image and likeness of God. Believers have a common heritage, one common faith, one Lord, one baptism, one Spirit, and one hope to which God has called us, one God and Father of all.
God calls us to look at each other as close relatives and kinsmen, members of God’s family. We may not like all our relatives, nor maintain equally close relationships with all, but that does not alter the fact that we are related to them. We are to express this kind of perception externally in showing a kind, gentle, good, respectful, and honoring attitude.
It is impossible to walk in the path of peace and to choose to think or do evil. Strife and hostility are evil. Offense is evil. Revenge is evil. Envy, resentment, and lies are evil. The path of peace means hating what is evil and clinging to what is good. The steps along this path also include helping and meeting needs, hospitality, blessing others, showing sympathy and compassion, and modest thinking.
Lord, help us to be peacemakers in all our relationships, loving others with Your love. Help us to focus on what connects us, to hate what is evil, and cling to what is good. Amen.