by: Ellene Meece
"IF it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:18 NIV).
"It was bound to happen. But I didn't think it would happen to my friend Scott-my only friend who is an ex-Marine and who comes complete with the tats, Harley and really scary sunglasses.
"But the Monday after the health care vote, he kept his head down and mouth shut while two colleagues went at it in the hall right outside his office. Lines were drawn very loudly and personal insults hurled from behind political positions. Surrounded by all that commotion, Scott stealthily e-mailed me this message: 'Please! Write something now about how to handle political battles at work!'
"This is the first time in generations when what is happening in Washington D.C. is impacting all of us very personally, directly and obviously. It's making roughly 50% of us really mad. Friends are turning against friends. Co-workers are turning against co-workers. And that's getting in the way of business." (from secular US based website Smart Blogs on Leadership http://smartblogs.com/leadership/2010/03/26/keeping-the-political-peace-in-the-workplace/)
And I might add, it's getting in the way of relationships and having peace with everyone.
In the workplace, we as Christians are often tested the most in the area of living at peace, even when political views and values are not at stake. And we especially find it difficult to discern in the midst of a politically charged environment-when to speak out and express a valued view and when to sacrifice our opinion for the sake of peace.
It is a relief to remember Paul's words, "If it is possible . . . " or " for your part or as much as depends on you," be at peace with all men.
An online word study, gives this insight: "The first two words in this phrase (in the Greek text) are generally translated "if possible." (See: Matthew 24:24; 26:39; Galatians 4:15.) The next three words are an example of a Greek Idiom. It conveys the idea of personal responsibility in some matter. We must do our part to see that peace is cultivated. Peace may not be achieved; it may not be possible given all the circumstances; but the fault will not lie with us. We did what we could; beyond that, we are not liable.
Here are some guidelines when expressing views in public among those of different persuasion, whether religion or politics.
- Be careful not to initiate or aggravate a situation with your words and heartfelt belief. However, when asked your view, by all means take the opportunity to give it in a kind but firm manner.
- Care about people first and foremost by really listening to them. Find a point of agreement, if possible. But, if their opinion is completely unaligned, ask if they would like to hear your thoughts on the topic and provide factual references to go with those thoughts. Also, refrain from drama, emotion and speaking loudly.
- Show support and friendship outside of touchy topics. Find a common ground where you can cultivate a peaceful relationship over sports, grandkids, life experiences.
On this last point, the word study referred to earlier, offered this: "The Greek word eireneuo appears only four times in the pages of the New Testament writings-Mark 9:50; II Corinthians 13:11; I Thessalonians 5:13 are the other three. It means "to be at . . . or to cultivate or make/keep . . . peace, concord, harmony; to live in a state of peace." It conveys not only the idea of a state of peace, but also the cultivation and continuation of that state."
We can ask ourselves, what is eternal here? Do I care more about the person or that I am right? What can I do to cultivate peace today?
Wherever we are-at home, at work or at play-let's purpose to keep our head above strife and turmoil to live at peace with everyone . . . if possible!
Ellene Meece lives in Meeker, Colorado and works with her husband in their natural resource company while running her own online store, Grandma's Treasures Online.
Ellene, this is a very timely message and truthful and wise message to deliver for such a time as this. And the understanding you have given is very helpful indeed. Thank You!
Blessings and Love,
by: Donna Schra