June 28, 2012

Doing Your Part

Luke 6:27-31

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
—Romans 12:18


“I’ve spoken to my neighbor several times about his dogs running loose,” Joe said to his friend in frustration. “They dirty my front lawn where my kids want to play. But he doesn’t do anything about it.”

Sometimes we must deal with people who stubbornly resist working toward a peaceful solution. What do we do then?

In a conflict, we cannot control what others do. We can only take charge of our responsibility: “as far as it depends upon you.” If you have done everything in your power to resolve a dispute, then you have accomplished what God wants from you. You can rest from the struggle and give God the problem through prayer, asking for his wisdom.

Remember that our Lord calls us to faithfully obey, not to gain justice or even satisfaction for ourselves. He commands us to bless our neighbors, not curse them. In 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 we also learn there may be a better way than a lawsuit.

Joe asked God for wisdom and began to work on the problem differently. Whenever he saw his neighbor outside, he went to greet him with a smile and to chat with him, taking a large baggie with him. When they parted, Joe would say, “See you later! I have to clean up after the dogs that have been in my yard.” Soon the neighbor controlled his pets.

Lord of wisdom, teach me how to be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone—especially you! Give me insight on how to live at peace with my neighbors. Amen.

About the author — David Zandstra

David Zandstra is a retired pastor living in Marietta, Georgia, having served five churches from New Jersey to California. Along with other ministries, he counsels clients of a pregnancy resource center. He acknowledges his indebtedness to the training and resources of Peacemaker Ministries. David and his wife, Margie, have three children and six grandchildren.

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