Psalm 145 (Praise God’s faithfulness); Isaiah 54:1-8 (God is married to Israel); Romans 12:9-21 (Live in harmony with one another)
Sometimes, there is only so much you can do to get along with others. You know what I mean! Some people seem to be so argumentative and contrary that if you tell them you like apples, they’ll snarl that they like bananas. If you try to set an agreeable tone and tell them that bananas are good too, they’ll snarl that no one likes bananas. Obviously that’s a simplistic example, but we all know people that are that contrary and hard to get along with. Ok, I have to admit, there are probably times when I might seem to act that way.
Paul has a reminder for us when we work with people like that. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) I believe that this verse sums up the reading in Romans for today. It’s a powerful passage reminding us as followers of Christ how we ought to live in a contrary society. It seems to be an American cliché, but we are called to stand for truth and justice by hating what is evil and clinging to what is good. We are called to care for others, especially fellow Christians, before ourselves. We are to continue serving the Lord with a spirit of joy and mercy no matter what the situation may be. We are, in short, to live in such a way that we are at peace with all people as much as it depends on us. When we deal with contrary people in a contrary society we don’t take revenge, we keep on blessing them and we continue to show them the grace and mercy of God. Today in the United States we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought for equal rights for all. Perhaps this was his commentary on these verses: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Dear Lord God, it is true that the world needs Your light to drive out the darkness of sin. The world needs Your love to drive out that hate that exists because people are not in a right relationship with You. Let me reflect Your light to this dark world. Let me show Your love to others in this contrary, hateful world.