Of course you can’t control the actions of others, but you can certainly influence their behaviour in the ways you conduct yourself in your interactions with them. I am reminded of an old saying my grandmother would often quote, “You will catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar.” Of course she meant that people will treat you better when you are nice to them.
So maybe the world becoming a peaceful place has to start with each one of us. Paul certainly seems to be saying that to the church in Rome. Maybe we could begin that work slowly with a spiritual practice. As you go throughout your day today, whenever someone gets under your skin, before you react, force yourself to stop. Pause. Take some slow even breaths while you repeat to yourself a few times, “It has to start with me.” Then try to respond to the person with love and kindness instead of vengeance or anger.
Later tonight as your day is ending, reflect on your day. How has this spiritual practice changed others? How has it changed you?
God of all people, of course peace begins with me. Show me how to love, especially those I think are the hardest to love. Amen. — SWH