Opening Your Eyes To Others
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;” Hebrews 12:14-15 NKJV
These verses tell us that as believers we need to be looking out for others, being concerned for them and their spiritual well-being. While we may realize that this is what is expected of us, in our inward thoughts we think to ourselves, “I can barely keep myself on the right path most of the time, how can I be expected to be accountable for the spiritual walk of others?” We tend to write off that verse as an unrealistic expectation that was probably doable in Bible times, but not reality for today. We then excuse ourselves from this Biblical responsibility.
Let’s examine this for a moment. Many of you related when I said: “It is hard enough to keep myself on the straight path with Jesus, let alone being accountable for someone else”. There is a reason that you are finding it hard to keep yourself on that path of Jesus. It is because you are not actively helping others do it. This concept may not be logical, but it is Biblical. We are called to think of others first and not ourselves. When we take care of the needs of others then Jesus is free to move through our own life.
Note that verse 14 begins with the word “pursue” peace with all people. Listen, I know that other people can be selfish, disrespectful, rude, disingenuous and even deceptive to you. Rather than feeling peace towards them, you may feel justifiable indignation, even wrath. The flesh says they deserve whatever they get, but this verse tells us a different response is expected. Not only are we supposed to operate in peace with others, but we are also actually supposed to pursue peace. To pursue something means you are relentlessly going after it. Even when you have been wronged by others or you see people living a lie, you are still supposed to pursue them with peace.
The word “peace” in Greek means wholeness, God’s gift of wholeness! When we pursue others unselfishly, caring for their spiritual well-being, we are offering them His wholeness. If they perceive this is from God and not from you, that you are merely the vessel God is using, the Holy Spirit can move in amazing ways through that individual for their good and His glory. That is good for them, but the great news for you is that when you are pursuing this kind of Godly peace for others you will find that you have simultaneously been receiving that wholeness of God in your own life. You reap the benefits and find that keep your life on His path is then not hard, but easy in Him.
J Todd Hostetler