This Scripture is telling us that we should not dislike someone because his or her personality does not appeal to us. We should not struggle against, or make things like work a struggle, or provoke to anger others, just because we do not like some one. We are not to contend with anybody on the “just-because” notion.
Often times (and I am not picking on the women in this analogy) women do not like another woman and they do not know her or know any thing about her. This is what this Scripture is advising us not to do. Contend is also judging someone for no reason and taking action against him or her for our imagined perception.
The word of God here is clear—we are wrong when we do these things. We should not make work hard for another human being just because we do not like him or her. People often say, “I do not do not like that person.” Well, my sisters and brothers, that attitude is not Christ-like. We are to love all—even our enemies. We are to act in love. And, love is patient and kind. Please note that love is not foolish or blind. Love is a way of acting and responding to situations and people.
Here is a place within ourselves that we can examine, to see if we are contending with others poorly or not walking in Godly love alongside others. For, we are to love one another and live peacefully with all men.
God tells us to love one another in John 15:17. And, in Romans 12 verse 16 and 18, we see that a way to love one another is to live in harmony with others and not be haughty, snobbish, or think that we are better than them. This is a form of a Godly love walk. That is exactly what God is telling us to do when He says to live peacefully with all men.
When we do not obey the Commandments of the Lord, we sin, and that sin, that wrong action, causes a reaction that boomerangs back on us and causes our own selves to hurt. Remember the saying “what goes around comes around? The Bible calls it seedtime and harvest: what you sow, you will reap. When we sow evil, we will reap a form of evil. When we sow godliness, our harvest will be full of goodness.
God, in His infinite wisdom, is setting us up for blessings and things that are good for us. He does not want hurt or harm or evil to come to us, so he shows us ways to produce good in our lives. God never wants to take from us. He shows us ways that would benefit us for our own good. We make the mistake of thinking that God is taking something from us. But the Creator of all knows that actions produce reactions. Therefore, He attempts to lead us to do actions that will produce victories and good things in our lives.
Verse eighteen (the last one we just read) says to live at peace with everyone if possible. That means you make the effort to live peacefully with all people. Living at peace with someone might mean that you cannot have extended dealings with him or her, for you know that after so long there will be some form of contention. Well, that lets you know to use wisdom. Sometimes you have to love some people with a long-handled spoon. But, the most important thing is that you walk in love with them. When they act like fools, walk in love and remove yourself from them, so that you do not join them acting foolish.
This even goes for some of our family members. Some grown adults out on their own have this issue with their parents. Their parent is the breeder of contention. If this is you, you must seek a way to walk in love and not let the parent’s provoking cause you to act un-godly or foolish. Responding to their negative or hurtful ways in an un-godly, non-peaceable way produces a form of hurt later in your life. Even though they may have sown hurt to you first, when you return hurt-for-hurt, you are sowing the seeds of hurt and will reap that pain in some form later in life.
Not being respected as an adult who has the right to make his or her own decisions can make one angry. But, remember there is a Scripture that tells us, be angry but sin not. That means you have the right to be upset when you are done wrong or when you see evil being done. But you are not to respond to it with evil (sin). Decide to walk in love with whoever it might be that is perpetrating evil against you. Learn your limits with the person. Take into account how much you can contend with and make provisions to limit their negative effect on you.
To be a loving person does not mean that you have to allow people to walk all over you. Use godly wisdom in dealing with others and you will be striving to walk in peace with all men.