By: Stacy M. Swimp
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
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.”– Romans 12:9-
In my morning meditation, I thought about how millions of Christians around the world are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ today.
However, I also thought about that old song: “They will know we are Christians by our love!“
If only we loved one another to the extent we profess our love for God. What a world it would be.
I find, in Romans, a few very practical steps we can take to practice Biblical standards of love toward one another, in spite of differences, regardless of disputes we have had in the past, and no matter what the cost is to our individual egos and personal ambition.
1. Always seek the highest good in others rather than looking for their faults
2. Always share the best you know about others, rather than telling others the worst you believe you know about others
3. Always seek the best interest of others, rather than to harm them in any way
4. Pray for others, especially who you struggle to get along with, asking God to increase your love and understanding of that person
5. Always ask God to reveal to you any pride that possibly be causing you to judge another person
6. Always remember that we are all equal at the foot of the cross. No man or woman is above another human being, even as others’ mistakes may be more known than our own. God sees all of our sins, the hidden and the revealed.
Love is a choice. Not a feeling. I have learned that we can choose to treat someone with Godly love, no matter how we feel or don’t feel.
I have also learned that, when we consistently choose love, God has a way of shedding His love abroad in our hearts for Him and for others, beyond what we could naturally generate on our own.