Sincerely Loving Others-Romans 12:9-21

Romans 12:9-21 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.  17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Romani 12:9-21 “L’amore sia senza ipocrisia. Aborrite il male e attenetevi fermamente al bene. 10 Quanto all’amore fraterno, siate pieni di affetto gli uni per gli altri. Quanto all’onore, fate a gara nel rendervelo reciprocamente. 11 Quanto allo zelo, non siate pigri; siate ferventi nello spirito, servite il Signore; 12 siate allegri nella speranza, pazienti nella tribolazione, perseveranti nella preghiera, 13 provvedendo alle necessità dei santi, esercitando con premura l’ospitalità.14 Benedite quelli che vi perseguitano. Benedite e non maledite. 15  Rallegratevi con quelli che sono allegri; piangete con quelli che piangono. 16 Abbiate tra di voi un medesimo sentimento. Non aspirate alle cose alte, ma lasciatevi attrarre dalle umili. Non vi stimate saggi da voi stessi.” 17 Non rendete a nessuno male per male. Impegnatevi a fare il bene davanti a tutti gli uomini. 18 Se è possibile, per quanto dipende da voi, vivete in pace con tutti gli uomini. 19 Non fate le vostre vendette, miei cari, ma cedete il posto all’ira di Dio; poiché sta scritto: «A me la vendetta; io darò la retribuzione», dice il Signore. 20 Anzi, «se il tuo nemico ha fame, dagli da mangiare; se ha sete, dagli da bere; poiché, facendo così, tu radunerai dei carboni accesi sul suo capo».21 Non lasciarti vincere dal male, ma vinci il male con il bene.
             As Paul nears the end of the book of Romans, he gives some good practical advice on how to live out our spirituality as Christians. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you will see the great value in these basic commands and realize many that claim the name of Christ may not live up to these standards. Notice the first thing mentioned is that love must be sincere. The word “sincere” literally means from the original text: “without hypocrisy”. Paul then follows with a short series of thoughts: hate evil and love good, devotion and honor to others, keep your zeal, be joyful in all things, hospitable, bless all people (friends and enemies), identify with others when they have joy and suffer with them in mourning, live in peace and remain humble, let God take care of your injustices and demonstrate the love of Christ by overcoming evil with doing good.
            The first part of the list seems fairly obvious as good stewards of the Gospel message but the last set of thoughts would particularly capture the attention of its readers. Paul’s word about injustice would not be the answer these Romans were looking for. Everyone has faced unfairness in their life. Vengeance or the law of retaliation is a normal response from our culture. The Old Testament principle of justice, “an eye for eye” (Ex. 21:24) was never intended for vengeance. It was given to protect the innocent and to ensure that retaliation did not occur. But over time, people took matters into their own hands. Paul commands, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil.” is also found in 1 Peter 3:9. When Jesus referred to this principle in the Sermon on the Mount, His interpretation was to go the extra mile to maintain peace; when wronged, be gracious enough to turn the other cheek when struck. Don’t strike back but commit your case before the Lord.
            It seems that the first half of these commands are relatively easy to obey, but the last ones can, at times, be somewhat of a challenge. But if we have enough faith in God for the first part, we can have enough faith for the whole list with His help!
Pray with me: Lord, I know that You want my love for You and others to be sincere. Help me to love others the way You love them and remind me to trust You as the One who will make things right.

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