April 3, 2012

Romans 12:14-21

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. 19 Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. It is written, Revenge belongs to me; I will pay it back, says the Lord. 20 Instead, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this, you will pile burning coals of fire upon his head. 21 Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good." (CEB)

Think of the last time you shared in the emotions of another. What sort of impact did it have on you? What about the other person? Paul challenges us to do just that, enter into the emotions of others, not in a way that is unhealthy or self-serving but rather as a means of support.

One of the other things this does is level the playing field. Paul says, "Consider everyone as equal," which emotions give us the chance to do. Rich or poor, anger is anger. PhD or GED, sorrow is sorrow. Black or white, loneliness is loneliness. Sharing the emotions of another puts us face to face and heart to heart. Seems like a great picture of what it means to follow Jesus.

What do you find meaningful, confusing, or challenging in this passage?