Perhaps nothing is so painful in our walk of faith as tension with brothers and sisters in Christ. That strain we feel when relationships are out of balance can be exasperating. We expect a certain degree of tension with people in the world but not those who belong to Christ's church. Right? We are supposed to rise above all that and be different, be better. As I write this the 80's song "I'm only human" is playing at the coffee shop! (a word from the Lord?) We are Christians, Christ followers, but alas...only human after all.
Could I suggest that the thing which makes us different is not the absence of conflict but the resolution of conflict. Everyone will have hiccups and wrinkles in their relationships, but Christians are the ones who are supposed to work them out. Romans 12:18 says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." There are several important things to catch here:
-It may not be possible. Sometimes you have to concede that a situation will not be resolved. You may have to agree to disagree or it may even be the end of a relationship. We work, pray, and try for peace...but we won't always have it.
-As far as it depends on you. You can't control what someone else does or says. You can't force them to work for peace. You can't control what they think. You can only do your part. And you must do your part. If they are unwilling, or unable to do their part, you have to turn that over to the Father.
-Live at peace with everyone. Yes even that one guy. That one gal. It doesn't matter who are they are or what they have done; the Father wants peace.
Peace doesn't mean you're obligated to have them over for dinner. Peace doesn't mean you sign up for endless abuse. Peace doesn't mean that you are now hugging friends or a "B.F.F.s". Peace means we no longer have to avoid each other at church or at the grocery store. Peace means we've have had that talk to clear the air, that we've both spoken and both listened. Peace means that we've both humbly offered apologies and both humbly accepted apologies. It means we've made "EVERY EFFORT to keep the unity of the Spirit though the bond of peace." (Eph 4:3)
Read the Bible in One Year Plan: Genesis 30-31