Romans 12:18 says, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men" (NAS). Some people can make it very difficult to live at peace with them. But even if they refuse to live in peace with us, as far as we are concerned, we must make the decision to remain at peace with them.
This was how it was with one of my relatives. After his wife left him, he was so devastated that he threatened to take his own life. However, he was arrested and put into the hospital for forty-eight hours. When he was released, he made another threat against himself and was arrested again. This happened three times. Because I lived in another state, my family called to keep me informed about what was happening during these three events. I began praying over the situation according to Matthew 18:18-19:
"Believe me, whatever you forbid upon earth will be what is forbidden in Heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be what is permitted in Heaven. And I tell you once more that if two of you on earth agree in asking for anything it will be granted to you by my Heavenly Father" (Phillips).
According to this scripture, I forbid the spirit of suicide to take his life. Throughout this situation, I drew on the force of peace in order to keep my mind under control. My declaration of faith was doing more than I could ever do. When I forbid him to take his life, all of heaven backed me! What dynamic power is available to a believer!
While he was in jail the Lord spoke something very unusual to me. He said, "Make him hungry for what you have." I didn't know how to do that. All I knew to do was pray in the Spirit. First Corinthians 14:2 tells us that when we pray in the spirit we do not speak to men but to God, and although we don't understand what we are saying, we are praying the perfect will of God.
After he was released from the hospital, I received a call from him. Instead of greeting me or identifying himself, he said: "Do you want to know why I hate you?" I replied, "Yes, I have wondered that for a long time." His answer was, "Because you have so much peace."
Even though he hadn't spoken to me for more than ten years, I refused to treat him the way he treated me. It is possible to live at peace with others when they are hurtful toward us, but it doesn't come automatically. We must make the firm decision to live at peace with others regardless of how they treat us.
When we respond to others in the same way they treat us, we are no different than they are. However, when we determine to be Christ-like we take on His attitude regardless of how others act toward us.
We cannot allow others to determine the way we behave. When we do, we give them control over our lives. Instead, make this declaration: "As far as I'm concerned, I am determined to live at peace with others."
- Excerpt from the
Help! It's Dangerous Out Here
Psalm 91 boldly declares “a thousand may fall at your side,” but evil will not come near us—if we trust in God. In the face of alarming newscasts rife with mass shootings, terrorist threats and unpre... read more