Hebrews 12:14-15—Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
One of the great struggles of the flesh and spirit is over relationships. We expect reciprocal kindness from those with whom we share our life. We often bare our soul to them and that makes us very vulnerable to them. So when a family or church member turns against us, whether through misunderstanding or difference of opinion, the conflict often becomes very personal and painful. The author of Hebrews asked the flock to make every effort to live in peace with all men. It is easier to live at peace with a semi-hostile world than it is with those who are close to us. To give us some direction, the writer included holiness along with the effort to be at peace. Then, to put the screws on, he added that without holiness we wouldn’t see the Lord. (Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.) Then, to give the flesh a final deathblow, he added that we are missing the grace of God if we let bitterness grow. Not only that, but our bitterness will end up defiling many. How can we let willful conflict continue when we see these consequences? The way out of this downward destructive cycle is to be merciful. You have received mercy you did not deserve; pass it on! Be to others as God is to you. Make every effort! You may not be reconciled, but making every effort means that you will always desire reconciliation even if it means agreeing not to agree. Take the situation to God in prayer. Get inside the other person’s shoes and try to understand them, rather than insisting on being understood. The peacemaker is blessed and will inherit the earth.