Reading Romans 12:18 in Light of Christ’s Life in the Gospels (Miniblog #157)
Romans 12:18 reads, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” I’ve been reflecting on this verse in light of Christ’s life. The implicit hermeneutic I learned growing up was to read the Gospels in light of the epistles, but what I’m slowly learning to do is more read the epistles in light of the Gospels. That being said, much of the counsel I’ve received over the years has been to not prod people. Don’t challenge opinions. Don’t identify presuppositions. Don’t offer criticisms. Don’t pose controversial questions. Don’t scrutinize beliefs. In general, just don’t make people uncomfortable lest they feel unwelcomed. This, I’ve been told, is what Paul teaches us in Romans. Yet that’s anything but what I see Jesus doing. What I see in His ministry is confrontation amidst compassion, conviction amidst humility, correction amidst grace, passion amidst forgiveness, frustration amidst hope, challenging amidst welcoming. That list could go on for some time. The point is, Jesus seems to have been at all times loving without ever bowing a knee to the reality of our brokenness. He understood and was compassionate about our fallenness without ever compromising on our need for reconciliation, redemptive, and restoration. To my mind, striving to live that reality is the key to Christians, i.e. followers of Christ, discerningly applying Romans 12:18.