9 Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. 10 Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. 11 Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! 12 Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. 14 Bless people who harass you—bless and don’t curse them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. 16 Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart. 17 Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good.
18 If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.
Does this passage in Romans leave you thinking, “I want a life like that”? Click here to learn about the various ways Resurrection seeks to make that way of life a reality for you.
These verses stood a key Roman and Greek belief on its head. “[Roman philosopher] Cicero wrote, ‘Rank must be preserved.’ Identity is determined by ladder rung. Descent is tragedy. The Greeks knew what greatness is, and for them, greatness did not involve humility. Philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre noted that humility was not considered a virtue in that world.” * Showing honor to one another was as counter-cultural then as it is now. But it saturated the Christian way of life (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:20-27).
Lord Jesus, shape me into a person who can caringly share both joy and sorrow with others. Guide me to always pursue the good for others and for your kingdom. Amen.
* Ortberg, John, Who Is This Man?: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus. Zondervan. Kindle Edition, chapter 6.
A moment of honesty: Over the years I've collected more fears and anxieties than I'd like to admit. I've grown up as a follower of Jesus, so I know the Scripture tells me not to live in fear. I know that God has not given me a spirit of timidity, but one of power, love, and a sound mind. I know it. I often live it. But every once in a while, a specific fear creeps up the spine and settles into the crook of my neck just behind the ear to taunt.
The fear of being single, mid-thirties, and alone.
There aren't really verses at the ready for that little nag—you gotta dig for those. On top of that fear, is the ultimate dread: Being single, mid-thirties, alone, and sick. Terrifying. What if I need help? I'm supposed to be independent--what if I can't walk the dog? What will I eat? I can't afford that much take out? What if something bad happens and…no one knows?
I think I managed to not get Covid for two years on sheer anxiety and prayers just from that one little fear.
But then all of a sudden, that long-held fear was a reality. In the middle of a busy workday I began to lose my voice and that old familiar fear began to creep up my spine and settle into its old familiar spot—and when I got the official positive test result, I cried because I was alone.
But not long after that, soup arrived--from my small group in Stuart, Florida. Then I got texts from some of my team at work asking me to let them know if I needed anything. The next day there was a parade of delivery drop offs, one for food and the other for medicine and tea—all from people who live 1,448 miles away. Then a co-worker dropped off Kleenex that I needed, and another dropped off ginger ale. A volunteer at church dropped off actual food made from real ingredients (I don't cook, y'all--I was impressed). Each day, a member of God's community checked in on me and that fear ceased to have a place. Sometimes fears can turn real, but they are still no match for the community God has designed for us to experience.
"Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other…cry with those who are crying (Romans 12)."
I don't know whether you're someone who needs love today or is prepared to give love today, but reach out. Someone in this community either needs to hear from you or is willing to sit with you. And that, right there, is church.
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