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[FONT=PT Serif][SIZE=19px]Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – Romans 14:19[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=PT Serif][SIZE=19px]As believers in the Lord we can hurt and even destroy others who are called by the name of Christ. The Lord has died for all of us and we are all his but we can “destroy someone for whom Christ died” (Romans 14:15) by our biblical convictions and ways we handle the truth. There of course are non-negoitable truths in the bible that we must all hold to, yet there are many cases where practical application to the truth is not made and we must be graceful over differences that occur in the body of Christ. What a terrible indictment that some where potentially hurting others to the place of destroying their faith. Paul even said that they could “destroy the work of God for the sake of food” (Romans 14:20). Making believers fall away over pridefully holding to convictions of holiness. Destroying God’s work and Church over areas of liberty. What a tragedy that this can happen amongst fellow believers in the family of God. Do you believe in a traditional church calendar, easter, and other holy days? Good. Do you feel most of these traditional days have pagan roots and you do not have a good conscience about it? Good. Let both keep these matters to themselves Paul was saying over non-essential practices. Of course we should simply follow in what we feel our conscience is leading us but let us not judge our brother or sister for not seeing things how we see it. There are opportunities to speak in love over an issue, but this must be done with love and great grace, with the only motive to encourage the other fellow believer and not try to make them like you.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=PT Serif][SIZE=19px]The exhortation we see in the verse we are looking at is very strong and there is a greek word used that is worth mentioning. The word is diōkō and the root meaning of the word is to “to run swiftly in order to catch,” or “to persecute.” This is the word that is translated “every effort” is this same greek word. This is quite significant that Paul is saying for us to pursue things that lead to peace and edification of believers as one would be pursuing a fleeing army, or persecuting and catch someone. Not everyone wants to seek peace in the body of Christ, many times a brother or sister will not relent on a certain issue or stance. We can react in a way that is defensive and argue with them, or we can do what is called for in this verse, “be merciless in our pursuing peace with them.” If what leads to peace is for someone to even walk over me my body and hurt me, it could very well be worth it in the end to win the brother or sister and not cause them offence. St. Nektarius of Aegina says, “The graceful speech of a Christian is characterized by delicateness and politeness. This fact, born of love, produces peace and joy. On the other hand, boorishness gives birth to hatred, enmity, affliction, competitiveness, disorder and wars.” This “crude insensitivity” of others in the body of Christ has caused and still does great hurt and wounding in other believers. Let us treat and speak with each believer as if Jesus himself were in the room watching both. For then we will realize Christ died for both and we need to seek to always mutual edify each other as we are one body together.

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