Live In Harmony
Romans 12:14-16 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. NIV
The twelfth chapter of Romans is most famous for its first two verses. Paul encourages Christians to present our bodies as living sacrifices and then spends the rest of the chapter defining what that means.
There are many good points in this passage filled with instruction on Christian living, far too many to speak of in this column. Right in the middle of the chapter, Paul places three verses that deal with how we should treat others in specific circumstances.
First he tells us to bless those who persecute us. I will never be able to comprehend how people, especially "Christians" can be so terrible to one another. It goes against the very nature of Jesus Christ and it should go against our nature also.
The second point he makes here is if someone is happy, or blessed, or has cause to rejoice for whatever reason, Paul tells us that we should rejoice with them. Do not be jealous of their circumstances, but be happy for them and with them. On the flip side of that coin, when someone is mourning or down, we should mourn with them and do whatever we can to comfort them. The concept is an easy one to understand, we are all part of the same body, the body of Christ. So if one part feels good, we should all feel good. If one part feels bad, we should all feel bad. Which leads to the next point, live in harmony with one another. We are all connected in some way. What we do has an effect on others, so we must do our very best to live in peace and harmony with each other.
Then Paul deals with the main source of sin, pride. Twice he tells us not to be proud or conceited. In another scripture we are told to consider others above ourselves. Here we are told to associate with those of low position.
This week the temperatures have been below freezing and there are many who are left out in the cold with nowhere to go for shelter from the elements. What have we done lately to comfort them and meet their need? Have we fed them, or clothed them, or sheltered them? Paul tells us to live in harmony and he expounds to include everyone. These are visible traits of those who follow Jesus Christ and call Him their Savior. We desire to be like Him, that is what the word "Christian" means.
Rev. Stephen Hammond is the Senior Pastor of Bethel Community Church