When we are in an emotionally charged state, our first impetus is always to do what seems fair and right in our own eyes. The problem is this emotional reaction almost always leads to us repaying evil for evil. We want to get even. We want to be right. But here, Paul tells us that we must take careful thought beforehand. When I was in my early twenties, I read a book called How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge by Clay Scroggins. I still remember a quote from that book to this day. In it, he says that “you are not ready to talk about something until you can talk about it without emotion.” For me, Scroggins’ statement has had the same effect as Paul’s words here in Romans 12. We need time and space to think about what is honorable and right in every situation. We can’t allow our emotions to sit in the driver’s seat; otherwise, we will say and do things that are not honorable. That is our responsibility. As far as it depends upon us, we are to live at peace with all. But Paul is realistic; he knows that there will be instances where living at peace with everyone will be impossible. There will be times when the world will not understand the points at which a Biblical worldview will not allow us to go along with the ways of the world. But he summons us as followers of Jesus to make every effort in that direction.
"Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."