As much as depends on you. That’s an interesting phrase. It comes from Romans 12:18 that says: If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
How does this statement fit into our pandemically driven, racially divided, finger pointing, polarized world?
More to the point, how does this statement fit into your daily life – say for example, your social media posts? (I am addressing mainly white American Christians).
How does it guide you as you express your opposition to wearing masks that you think are useless, or to the requirements put in place by your Governor that you feel are excessive? How does it guide you as you comment on the racial divide in our country that you don’t think exists, or to the slogan Black Lives Matter that you understand in a different way than Black Lives understand it?
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
If it is possible is not a convenient escape clause. In fact, it may not mean what we have always thought it meant. The old English theologian, J. B. Phillips translated it as: As far as your responsibility goes. In other words, your only responsibility is to live in peace with everyone around you. It’s not to make them happy or, in the context, to pass judgment on them. It’s just to live in peace with them. That is the Christian’s duty.
As much as depends on you does not get you off the hook. Most of our actions depend on us. Yes, there may be exceptions. Sometimes you just can’t please everyone. There will be those rare times when you can’t do anything to please the other person. But most of the time we have control over what we do. Mostly it does depend on you.
Live peaceably means to keep life calm and serene. A lot of our social media posts have just the opposite effect. They don’t promote peace.
With all men doesn’t allow for exceptions. All includes those on the opposite side of the issue. Christians have a responsibility to do all they can to bring about a calm and serene society, even for and with people they strongly disagree.
We have a duty to promote an atmosphere of calmness and serenity in a world of unrest and upheaval and, according to the following verses, leave the rest up to God.
Social Media Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others have given all of us, including Christians, the ability to spread our feelings and (often unfiltered) thoughts far and wide. Unfortunately, we have often chosen anger and hostility over peace.
We forget that we are not like other people. We answer to a higher authority. We have a greater responsibility. We have a divine duty in this world. We represent the highest and greatest kingdom ever to exist.
So, as far as your responsibility goes, promote peace, even with those who promote hatred and anger.
Stay in the Word,