It’s Friday and Sunday’s Comin’!
My dad used to tell me that you can say almost anything to someone that you disagree with (at least in person) when you say it with love. Of course, you have to keep loving them even when it’s clear that they’re not going to change their mind and might even get mad. I think the hardest thing is staying connected with people with whom we disagree. My 6-year-old self that says “I’m taking my toys and going home” is strong!
The apostle Paul knew this, of course, and gave us words to live by in Romans 12:
Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. Bless people who harass you—bless and don’t curse them. Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. 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. Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good.
If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. 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. 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. Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good.
Of course, I always think it’s funny that Paul clearly believes that goodness and love will triumph but he’s not above relishing the pain of those who resist that love!
There’s a lot of evil in this world, friends. Some of it we recognize and some of it we don’t. The only thing that will overcome evil is the love and goodness that comes from God. Keep the faith!