Romans 12:9-21 Life in Community: Really Love People
Verses 3-6 spoke of humbly fulfilling our role in the body of Christ. Verses 9 and following focus more on attitudes and how to successfully live out our calling in community. Love and honor are the keys! We are to really love and honor people. So many of our interpersonal problems come when we let our feelings take control of our behavior. Real love involves sacrifice. Real love is an action love which does what is right in spite of how you might feel at the moment. Likewise, true love includes honoring people. When I disrespect people I cannot love them. If, however, I see the image of God in them, I will honor them. When I honor people, I will listen to them. I will gladly hear them out.
Loving and honoring people means allowing God to keep the books up to date. I will not keep an account of how they have sinned against me. I will not seek to take revenge for every perceived slight. I will leave God to balance the books. These are good words for those in the community of believers and for living in the community at large too.
Love, honor, live at peace, live in harmony, empathize, be humble, work hard, be hospitable, cherish good, hate evil, love people-even your enemies... This is what it means to be salt and light in this world.
9Don't just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. 10Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.
12Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful. 13When God's children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night.
14If people persecute you because you are a Christian, don't curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. 16Live in harmony with each other. Don't try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!
17Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.
19Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written,
"I will take vengeance;
I will repay those who deserve it,"
says the Lord.
20Instead, do what the Scriptures say:
"If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink,
and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you."
21Don't let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.