When Peace Means Distance

Sunday, February 15, 2015

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18 KJV).

What wonderful advice to save ourselves headache and heartache!

Recently, some Christians who were dealing with an unbearable Christian family member, asked me for advice. Today’s Scripture summarizes what they should do. They are to live “peaceably” with the gossiper and liar—sadly, in their case, peace is only possible long-distance! Beloved, we are not doormats. The Holy Spirit’s guidance in dealing with Christians who are fornicators, covetous, idolaters, railers (uttering constant bitter complaints against people or things), drunkards, and extortioners, is “with such an one no not to eat” (1 Corinthians 5:11). Have no social relations with that Christian until he or she improves. But, what if they never reform? Then never have social relations with them.

Through the years of ministry, I have met some very obnoxious people, lost souls and Christians (!). Even today, honestly, it is best to avoid them as much as possible. They are troublemakers who delight in disgracing and destroying sound Bible ministries. They had no desire to hear what the Bible says, and no desire to uphold what the Bible says. While I love them as the Lord Jesus Christ would, and I forgive them in Christ if they have done me wrong, that does not mean that I have to seek them out and be around them and hear or read their nonsense. If they are hungry, or thirsty, and they come to me for help, that is something else entirely (Romans 12:20), but I have no reason whatsoever to go after them and attempt to reform them. They were already given verses that they rejected, and I will not force myself on anyone.

Beloved, the mature Christian should most definitely attempt to correct or reform a wayward brother or sister in Christ in meekness and love (Galatians 6:1), but eventually we must “reject” the “heretick.” After the first and second admonition (warning), we need to leave the person alone and move on to something more worthwhile (Titus 3:10,11). Sometimes peace means distance—it is a shame but long distance may also be necessary!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who will have children in the Millennium?