Biblical wisdom might help you, even if you aren’t a follower of Jesus or don’t believe the Bible. Paul spent years traveling and teaching people how to live out Jesus’ words. In his letter to a group of people, he shares some key points for helping people live in peace with themselves and each other. I think they are still helpful today.
- Settle disagreements. Don’t let things accumulate. It is normal to disagree – even with people you love, or are working hard together to accomplish the same goals. Bearing in mind that there are at least three points of view involved: yours, the other party’s and the whole truth. The whole truth comes from “the Master in heaven who doesn’t take sides or pick favorites” (Ephesians 6:9).
- Help others settle disagreements – don’t take sides. Help them to see what is motivating them and what is motivating the other party.
- Choose joy. Find the joy. Don’t let a disagreement or negativity weigh you down.
- Be gentle and considerate of others. They have a lot of background stuff – just like you do.
- Don’t worry about anything; pray. Tell God specifically what you need. Don’t ruminate or dwell on what you don’t have, negative aspects of the situation, or what bad things might happen, just pray possible solutions.
- Thank God for all He has done. Make a list of anything and everything remotely good in your life. Review and add to your list. All good gifts come from God.
- Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Look hard to find these thoughts. Making this a continuous habit takes some effort, but pays off.
Reviewing this list helps to re-set my heart and mind in the midst of any struggle I might be having – either with myself or with another person. I thank God for the wisdom Paul shared which continues to live on through the pages of a book that so many of us take for granted!
Here is the source for my outline in a version you might not have encountered. Please let me know what you think! How has following, or not following, these guidelines impacted the peace in your heart or home?
2 Euodia and Syntyche, I urge you to put aside your differences, agree, and work together in the Lord. 3 Yes, Syzygus, loyal friend, I enlist you to please help these women. They, along with brother Clement and many others, have worked by my side to spread the good news of the gospel. They have their names recorded in the book of life.
4 Most of all, friends, always rejoice in the Lord! I never tire of saying it: Rejoice!5 Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. 6 Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. 7 And know that the peace of God (a peacethat is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. 9 Keep to the script: whatever you learned and received and heard and saw in me—do it—and the God of peace will walk with you. Paul, Philippians 4, The Voice