In the light of recent events, peaceful is probably one of the last words we would use to describe life. But, it is an exhortation from the Holy Spirit through the pen of Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome.
In his day, Paul noted many non-peaceful events both for himself and those whom he called “Beloved.” Rome was not an easy place to live for a Christian; the entire Empire was not overly thrilled with this “way” of living introduced by this Jesus of Nazareth. Because of the natural disdain, Paul exhorts his brethren to live peaceably with all men, to the very extent of their capability.
The question is what does “peaceably” mean? The term in Greek carries with it a sense of causation so it could be seen as “causing peace,” but that just leads back to the question: What is peace? At its root, peace is the concept that there is no struggle between parties; each party has exactly what it needs to live as it desires to live. In our current state of living, that utopia is not and will not be seen until the King returns to rule with righteousness. However, that should not dissuade us from striving for it now.
We are to do all that is within OUR ability to live without struggle with all people. No matter what they do to us, we cannot react other than peaceably. Christ provides the example and leaves us with the command: “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44, cf. Matthew 22:36-40).
A working definition of love is “a conscious desire, yielding action, for the betterment of others, even at the detriment of self.” It is a “conscious desire” because we must make that conscious choice within our mind. It must be a choice that “yields action” for love manifests itself in action. It is focused on the edification of others, not building up self. Lastly, it may even come with a personal cost (cf. Philippians 2, I Corinthians 13, I John 4).
We will each answer for our own actions when we stand before our LORD on that Day (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Until then, we must strive to love and live at peace with all, trusting God, the Good Shepherd, to care for His sheep perfectly.