No seas vencido por el mal, sino vence con el bien el mal. Romans 12:21 (LBLA)
One of my devotionals this morning was the above bible verse. As is my custom I looked it up in English and Spanish for context and I liked the CSB version below.
It was very timely, there is a lot of folks posting stuff on social media these days that in my opinion is very hateful. For the most part I am not even sure they are aware just how hateful it is, by that I mean they are posting things based upon emotions not facts. Our President is a perfect case in point. He has a bad habit (my opinion) of over using social media. Okay, so I do not like that, big deal that is not why he is in Washington is it. What is he doing to (or trying to do fighting Congress) improve this country, that is what matters. In other words CONTEXT.
Christian Ethics Romans 12:9-21
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good.
Christians are to love God and our neighbors. But what does that mean? The key is to love..without hypocrisy, we are to love those who are in our proximity without regard to race, sex, status, etc. In other words do not discriminate.
10 Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor.
We are especially to show the Love of God to fellow saints in the body of Christ. This should be a no-brainer, I mean if you can not love your brother and sister who you will spend eternity with I find it hard to believe you can show the Love of Christ to a stranger.
11 Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit;serve the Lord.
How are we to show this love to one another, with enthusiasm brought on by the Holy Spirit always willing to serve the Lord.
12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.
Life can get tough, every (true) Christian will experience times in the valley floor, Paul tells us that it is then we must Rejoice in hope, bring to remembrance the reason for our Hope, the Joy (eternal life in Christ); be patient in affliction, knowing that this life is temporary and what awaits us in the next makes this a whole lot easier. It is not for this life we live and serve God, 1 Corinthians 15:19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. Finally we must be be persistent in prayer, The only way to get through this life is to have a daily conversation with God.
13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.
Some would have us think that it is the duty of every Christian to give to the needy of the world. While there is some part of that under the Great Commission that rings true our foremost responsibility is to the church. We are to Share with the saints in their needs, Paul is not making up something new here it is the basis of the first churches we see in Acts chapter 2. We should pursue hospitality, welcoming traveling believers into our homes is one such example.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Again this is not some new command from Paul but another way of saying what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:44) I will be the first to acknowledge this is far from easy. Especially with people being so nasty today. Yet praying for our enemies is far less stressful than hating them.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.
Paul here tells us to Empathize not Sympathize with those around us. “Sympathy is a feeling you share with another person; empathy is the ability to understand the emotions of another person.¹”
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Live in harmony, is not some command for communal kumbaya moments. Here Paul is saying we need to be humble enough to adjust to the situation and surroundings. That does not mean that we go against and or abandon Biblical principles and God’s Law.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil.Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.
I don’t think I need to comment on the first half of this verse. If you have not already experienced a moment in your life when someone has said to you (or its been relayed to you) “I thought you were a Christian” count your blessings because folks are watching. Both fellow believers and unbelievers alike are watching you for any little slip up.
18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
So we are to in all circumstances live in peace, NOT! Paul says two important things here that are often overlooked, If possible, this is a conditional statement. There may be times when we can not avoid an argument, conflict or fight. The second condition as far as it depends on you, means we should never be the cause of that argument, conflict or fight. We should strive to live at peace with everyone.
19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.
The time will come when someone will do you wrong, what do you do about it? The world says get even man you got a rep to uphold but the Word of God says do not avenge yourselves. Why is it that we are to not reach out and avenge ourselves simple God has got our back and we are to leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord. Let God deal with them in His time you have better things to do and better people to spend time with.
20 But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.
Listen one of the best ways you can befuddle your opponent (enemy) is to be kind to them. Worldly people those we see on TV screaming at conservatives, who have no inkling of God’s love those are who need it the most.
21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.
Paul’s final command and our text verse. Evil can only gain a foothold in our lives if we let it. We must live first and always for good (God) and evil can not even so much as gain a toehold. It is only when we sink to worldly tactics in our personal lives actions and I might add that of the church that evil gains any ground. If we display the Fruits of the Spirit with never rendering evil for evil we can make a difference in the lives of those around us.