In this section in chapter 12 Paul encourages the church that love is not stagnant, that it is demonstrated in action, and shows us in what manner in this passage.
Do not repay evil for evil, being careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
Live at peace with everyone
Do not take revenge, God will avenge. On the contrary if or enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink. In doing this we will heap burning coals on his head (this most likely refers to bringing conviction, or shame to an enemy by way of our good conduct towards them)
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
My initial reaction when I experience injustice is ‘an eye for an eye’ – and then God allows my heart to beat, speaks to my conscience, and shows me the damage that this kind of thinking does. It perpetuates the sin, the evil, the mal intent, and leaves my heart hard towards the other person. In turn, that hardness makes it difficult to receive from God. It is the rejection of my natural tendencies and the embracing, with brokenness, God’s Holy Spirit that allows me to go against my ideas of justice and break the cycle of enmity. Living in peace, providing for those in need, even if they are opposed to me, displays the love of God that surpasses all understanding. It invades my thinking and my actions, but by trusting God, it can also invade other people’s thinking and actions when they are not met with my will of hostility and pride. After all, if this world is not my home, then I am not concerned that others may esteem me weak, but by taking the lead on reconciliation, a great spiritual strength is realized that may affect the spirit of my enemy, or the person that opposes me. This is also a good default attitude as there are times when I need to be humbled in my spirit when I am wrong.
Jesus, I need to see people as you do. Help me long for peace and reconciliation; allow me to respond with kindness when it is difficult and when my stubborn pride gets in the way so that you may display your glory in me. When I criticize, temper my thinking, when I receive criticism or injustice help me to remember that sacrificing my pride is an exercise in intimacy with you that can be shared with humanity to provide conviction and transformation. Amen.
Posted on Fri, March 11, 2016
by joel king