God’s Word is amazing. I was initially planning on making this a brief, savvy post. I was writing out my own list of steps that all had verses to back them up. Then as I was reading passages and asking God to lead me in what to say, I came across a passage. It had every point I had jotted down in brainstorming, and more, and it was so much clearer and more concise. Reading Romans 12, I was amazed at how every point found there could apply to our world, and these situations. I was reminded of what I intend on this feed to remind us all, that God’s Word is alive and active, and very applicable to our lives and circumstances, not an outdated list of rules.
So, instead of basing this first post around a list I cooked up, I’m glad to be basing it around Romans 12:9-21. This part two will cover Romans 12: 14-21.
Romans 12:14- “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
This is not an easy command. It is our first instinct to retaliate when we are harmed or wronged. Even though we need to speak out and act against injustices around us, this does not mean that we need to get revenge, get even. The commission here even takes it to the next level saying that we need to bless them. This can seem nearly impossible at times, but Jesus does not ask us to do anything he has not already done first. Jesus died for the very people who hated him, plotted to kill and did eventually kill him.
Romans 12:15- “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
This is the verse I went in search for but ended up reading this entire passage. What made me go look for it, was a correction in my thinking I gradually had in the past couple weeks. At the start of my Facebook news feed filling with the #BLM posts, I would lean to the side of the All Lives Matter response, because, Christ died for everyone, loves everyone, and calls us to do the same. I was confused at first as to why there was backlash saying this response was insensitive.
This verse can shed some light on why that might be the case. The black community is the one that is hurting right now, the ones who are mourning. They need our empathy, and for us to mourn with them. Yes, of course all lives matter, but right now black lives need our help, our focus, and for us to listen to their experiences and perspectives. One of the best ways we can respond in love is to learn and listen to the hardships people have experienced because of racism and learn how and why racism is still part of our society.
Romans 12:16- “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
It has been hard and discouraging seeing how much disunity this topic has caused throughout our nation, and even among the church. It unfortunately seems like more of the conversations are centered around who is right, rather than seeking solutions to the problems together. It is one thing for the world to be divided, but the church, we are especially supposed to unified, and we are losing our credibility in witness when we are divided. I suspect many American Christians can sometimes be more concerned about defending their side politically than staying united with their brothers and sisters under God’s word.
The second half of the verse is the antidote to division. Humility will lead to unity. Willingness to not always be right, or get the last word, will help us to act peacefully, listen and learn to see new perspectives, and work together to be Christ’s hands and feet. Humility is also needed to speak up for the persecuted in these times. It will mean allying with the people in society who are often unjustly overlooked and mistreated.
It may also help to remember who the enemy we are up against. Our enemy is not the government, the police, the liberals, or the conservatives, or people in general. Ephesians 6:12 reads, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Sin and Satan are the enemies Christians are called to unite against.
Romans 12: 17-21
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 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. 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.’
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
These verses make it clear that even in light of injustice, the answer is not hurting the oppressor or perpetrator. They should be held accountable, but the goal is not to get even. Peaceful protest and petitions are great, but riots that involve looting, damage to property, and violence are still inexcusable despite corruption in the police force. God sees the suffering of the black community and minorities, and these verses call us to not take revenge into our own hands, but trust that God will hold every person accountable.
The officers who use excessive force, or even go as far as to murder someone, must be held accountable. The police force as a whole needs reform, but that does not mean we stop respecting police officers or take revenge on them.
This is a hard command. It seems natural to lash back. It can seem impossible to love and serve someone who harmed us, and especially who consistently acts as our enemy, but doing this leads to two outcomes. Either our kindness will soften their hearts and they will repent, or we will have been faithful on our part, will be rewarded by God, and our opponents will have no excuse they did not know right from wrong or have an example.
I love that this passage concludes with “overcome evil with good.” Every command listed here is good and is our equipment to fight evil. Which, I think it goes without saying, evil is fighting hard right now, and we need to fight all the harder in the right ways: acting in love, even when it takes us outside our comfort zone, seeking peace, even when it seems like fighting back would speak louder, and striving for unity, even when it requires humility.
This post has been filled with many “should do’s” and “we must’s”, and let me clarify I’m not to the point of living all of these out. Reading for and writing this post has been a humbling and convicting experience, but I’m taking steps to listen, learn, and then speak and act out as the opportunity comes and as God calls me. This passage gives us a lot to work towards, too, so maybe not everyone of us will apply every part of this passage toward these specific issues, but I hope after reading this every Christian will be asking God how they can apply the commands in this passage towards what our country is going through