Peaceful Offence

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Romans 12; Proverbs 14:13-14

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Romans 12:18
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Some things don’t depend on us. We can’t stop a nasty neighbour who insists on being inconsiderate and quarrelsome. We cannot prevent a colleague who looks for every opportunity to attack or provoke us. Some things don’t depend on us. But many things do. We can choose not to retaliate. We can choose to keep quiet. We can even choose to return evil with good.

How does one live peaceably with others? One way is to not take offense easily. I have to constantly remind myself of this when I’m driving. Singapore roads are merciless, and Singaporean drivers are aggressive. When someone does something unkind or ungracious, my instinct is to react in kind (not kindness), or to “teach him a lesson”. I must now choose if I should respond in wrath, or in peace. If I take offense, then my anger needs to be satisfied. But if I opt for peace, then I can remind myself that the other party is probably not ready for a driving lesson, and the most loving response is to say a prayer for him. “Lord, bless him, and teach him how to drive!” 😉

Lord, the next time I say to myself that “I have no choice” – help me to realize that it’s probably just an excuse, and then to choose wisely. Amen.


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