If possible, so far as it depends upon you, be at peace with all men. (Romans 12:18, NASB)People who consistently live out this verse impress me. I find these days that I am frequently rising to defend people whom I greatly respect and love. Yet I note that they do not rise in defense of themselves. In contexts that afford honest, open, and thoughtful dialogue, they are first in line to enter the conversation. But in contentious, agenda-laden settings, they are quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
Their gentle and Christ-honoring spirit makes me love them all the more and wish to defend them all the more.
But I wonder sometimes whether, rather than defending them, I ought to do more learning from them.
[Update: Lest I falsely encourage or discourage anyone, allow me to clarify the following. I hold precisely the same viewpoint that I have held all along regarding who is right, who is wrong, and my ideas about the issues. The question I'm addressing is which is the best way to respond to the bellicose. Maybe different ways in different contexts. May God give me the wisdom to know.]