If It Is Possible

Jenna Brooke Carlson, Volunteer Writer, Huntley | January 26, 2024

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Matthew 7:16-18

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

The other day I heard about a new 2024 Illinois law on the morning news. This law makes it unlawful for someone from the public to come in direct contact with a bear or “non-human primate.” Next to the new law text on the screen, the news station had written that they were serious. The rule wasn’t a joke. This means something had to have happened—probably more than once—to make it necessary to legislate a human’s possible interaction with a bear.  

In Romans 12:18, Paul writes, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (emphasis mine). Much like the new bear law, Paul wouldn’t have written this to the Romans if there hadn’t been incidents where living at peace with others wasn’t difficult. 

There are times when we can’t reconcile with others. (Did anyone else just breathe a sigh of relief?) The God-breathed words of Scripture make it clear. We do, however, need to do our part first.

I’ve experienced this in a major way once in my life. Someone close to me had hurt me and my family deeply. I expressed my hurt to the person, but she did not repent. She continued to cause pain and proved to be untrustworthy and even harmful to my family.

After much prayer and help from trusted counselors, I learned I could forgive with boundaries. We are meant to live in peace with others. But sometimes it’s not possible. Sometimes it’s unhealthy.

In 2024, you can’t have direct contact with bears, but you can take steps to heal from a harmful relationship? Do your part, and then if needed, let the person go. God wants us to be our healthiest selves so we can positively impact His kingdom. Sometimes this is with someone, and sometimes it’s without them.

Next Steps

Who are you not living in peace with? Determine if you’ve done your part to reconcile. If so, spend time in prayer asking God if it’s time to let this person go.