Scripture: Romans 12:9-21
Key verse: (17) Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.
Reflection: In this passage Paul gives an overview of what discipleship looks like. Read the verses carefully. None of this is easy to do. Be patient in suffering? Bless those who persecute you? Do not be haughty? Perhaps the hardest is “Do not repay anyone evil for evil.”
Living in the way of Jesus Christ is hard to do. If I’m hurt, my first instinct is to hurt someone back. When I think of Jesus, I remember that he was hurt and never hurt anyone in retaliation. He was pushed out-of-town and taken to a cliff to be hurled off, and he passed on and left town (Luke 4). He was beaten and crucified and prayed “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23). He was denied and abandoned by his disciples and then appeared to them after the resurrection with peace (John 20). Jesus did not repay anyone evil for evil, but responded to evil with love.
The world doesn’t work that way. The world teaches us to respond to evil with evil, to strike back, to retaliate and even to escalate the violence. We are watching this now in our culture, locally, nationally and globally. Walking away, forgiveness and peace are seen as the wimpy ways out when really those responses take more spiritual strength than evil does. I wonder how the world would be transformed if disciples of Jesus tried to live in his way, and not repay anyone evil for evil. It’s not easy to do but we can pray that God will enable us for the sake of the kingdom.
Prayer: Dear God, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. With your powerful grace, enable me to live in the way of Jesus even when it’s hard to do. Forgive me when I fall short and encourage me to follow Jesus once again. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].