Romans 12:14-21 ESV
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Persecuted for Righteousness
Jesus Christ said that if we are going to follow him with our lives that we are going to be hated and persecuted as he was. What they did to him they will do likewise to us, i.e. we will be despised and rejected of men, and we will be people of sorrows who are acquainted with grief. They will falsely accuse of wrongs we did not do, and they will attack, criticize, and hound us. And they will try to trip us up with our words, too, and some of us they will kill.
[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21]
But we are to consider ourselves blessed that we are persecuted for the name of Jesus and for the sake of his gospel of salvation. And we are to bless (do good to and pray for) those who persecute us. We are never to “trade tit for tat,” i.e. to repay evil for evil done to us. But we are to love and forgive those who do evil against us. So, if our enemies are hungry or thirsty we are to give them food and drink to satisfy their hunger and thirst.
Now, this is not to say that we are not to speak out against evil, or that we are not to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness, or that we are not to call out those who are false teachers and their false teaching. We are! And this is not being mean or hateful, and it is not trying to get even with our persecutors, but it is for the purpose of the salvation of human lives, for many people are being led astray by these enemies of the cross of Christ.
And that is doing what is honorable, moral, decent, and upright. For it is bringing out into the light the lies which are being spread in the name of Jesus, and in the name of his gospel, and in order that the people who are listening to these lies might know that what they are listening to are lies. And then it is letting them know the truth so that they can reject the lies and embrace the truth so that they have genuine salvation and eternal life.
Live in Harmony
Now when this tells us to live in harmony (agreement, cooperation) with one another, this in no way is suggesting that we make compromises of faith and practice in order to be in harmony with other people who are also professing faith in Jesus Christ. We do not! We never compromise truth and righteousness to be in agreement with others. We are not to compromise with the world to be one with the people of the world, either.
Jesus called us out of the world to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are now being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. So, we are to stand out as different, and that is okay. We may get called all sorts of names, and yes we may be rejected by the majority of people, even by other professing Christians, but God called us to be holy in all of our conduct and to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world.
Thus, living in harmony with other believers in Jesus must never compromise our harmony with the Lord Jesus and with the teachings of Scripture. But we work toward harmonizing with others in areas where we can agree and in areas that are non-essential, where compromise is acceptable and where it does not go against our Lord. And we do not insist on our own way in areas where it doesn’t matter for eternity.
And with regard to rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep, the same principles apply. We do not rejoice with sin and with evil and over things which are contrary to God’s moral laws and his divine will and purpose for our lives. We do not take pleasure in the lusts of this sinful world. And we also do not weep over the things the world weeps over which, again, may be contrary to the Scriptures and to God’s will for us.
No Room for Pride
None of us should be prideful. This does not mean, however, that we fake humility or that we compromise truth and righteousness in order that others might see us as humble. For many people accuse the truly righteous (in God’s sight) of being hyper-religious, self-righteous, prideful, and judgmental, just because they are following the Lord Jesus and they are doing his will and they are exposing the lies and they are teaching the truth.
And associating with the lowly does not mean that we have close associations or partnerships with the ungodly of this world. It just means that we are not to deem ourselves as superior to others or to think that everyone else is beneath us or that they are not worthy of our time and attention. We are to be humble as Jesus was humble and to show genuine love to all people, which includes sharing with them the truth of the gospel.
We are to never be wise in our own sight, i.e. we are not to rely on our own intellect or worldly wisdom, but our dependency should be in the wisdom of God and of his divine word. And we should never think we are always right and/or that everyone else is wrong. But we should hold strong to the truths of the Scriptures, taught in full context, and we should not bend on those. But we should be diligent in making certain that we are following the truth.
And lastly we are not to be overcome by evil, but we are to overcome evil with good, which goes to all that was just discussed here. We are not ever to let evil creep back into our lives in order to be acceptable to other people and so that they will not think us odd or accuse us of being self-righteous. We must hold strong to the word of God and to holy living and to obeying our Lord in all things and in resisting the enemy and in remaining pure.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-10; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Rejoice in the Lord
By Ron Hamilton
God never moves without purpose or plan
When trying His servant and molding a man.
Give thanks to the LORD though your testing seems long;
In darkness He giveth a song.
I could not see through the shadows ahead;
So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead.
I bowed to the will of the Master that day;
Then peace came and tears fled away.
Now I can see testing comes from above;
God strengthens His children and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging more fruit I will bear.
O Rejoice in the LORD
He makes no mistake,
He knoweth the end of each path that I take,
For when I am tried and purified,
I shall come forth as gold.
Caution: This link may contain ads