What Promotes Peace and Edification?
Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Romans 14:19 (NKJV)
Conflict. Sometimes I ignore it or even run from it. On other occasions, I intensify it by using inappropriate methods to resolve it.
Paul urged his readers to battle conflict by pursuing peace and edification. According to Thayer’s lexicon, peace is “harmony between individuals.”* But harmony isn’t enough. Paul says the peace must lead to edification. To edify is to “promote another’s growth in Christian wisdom, happiness, and holiness.”**
How do I know that I’m encouraging that kind of spiritual environment? I estimate the amount of righteousness, peace, and joy that my actions and words will generate (Romans 14:17).
What will most likely produce growth for my fellow Christians? What will best display God’s character to those outside the church? From God’s perspective, it’s rarely about what’s best for me. God focuses on what will glorify Him and what’s best for others, especially skeptics and weaker, younger Christians.
In some matters, I should also consider two other questions: Am I in a position of authority that enables me to solve the problem? Or do those in authority respect my advice enough to embrace my solutions? If the answer to either of those questions is “no,” then silence may be the better choice. God is fully capable of doing what is right without my assistance.
Knowing when to speak and when to remain silent can be a daily battle. Should I confront a neighbor whose car often blocks my driveway? Should I speak to my employer when I detect that he has misjudged a coworker? Maybe the issue concerns a fellow Christian. Do I respond to them with more kindness than I extend to a stranger? Or do I conclude that “they should know better” and judge them more harshly?
I’m learning to pray about conflictual issues at least 24 to 48 hours before I open my mouth. That gives the Holy Spirit time to speak to me. Often He says, “Wait.” Occasionally, He provides the opportunity to speak. Always, though, He works in my heart and adjusts my attitude.
What conflict are you facing? Should you speak or remain silent?
Read Romans 14. How can we apply Paul’s counsel about judging what people eat and what they celebrate to monitoring what we say?
Read 1 Chronicles 16:8-10 and Psalm 105:1-2. If our goal is to make God’s name known, how will that affect what we say?
Read Psalm 19:7-14. After David reflects on the value of God’s words, what is his prayer in verse 14? Does meditating on God’s Word have that effect on you?
Denise K. Loock
*Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for eirēnē (Strong’s 1515)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 13 Apr 2013. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
**Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for oikodomē (Strong’s 3619)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 13 Apr 2013. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?