LOVING WORDS IN COMMUNITY
Read: Romans 12:9-21
” 9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ” (NIV Romans 12:9-21)
Study: Paul challenged the Christians in Rome to “Be the best at showing honor to each other.” Too often, “be the best” means surpassing everyone else, and sets us against one another in a race for honor. But Paul’s vision was built on inner honesty and authenticity, God-centered humility, and a counter-cultural willingness to let go of human status distinctions. Note how this passage starts: “Love should be shown without pretending” (verse 9). We’re so used to defining love as a feeling that this may seem baffling. If I don’t FEEL like loving someone, isn’t it phony to act as though I love them? The New Testament usually defined love as action, not as feeling. That’s why this verse says “love should be SHOWN.” When have you been able to act in love toward someone you didn’t necessarily feel loving about? Where do you have an opportunity to do that today?
Pray: Lord Jesus, give me the strength to imitate your love for me. Let me show that love to ALL no matter my feelings. Amen.