The Other Passage on Love
Loving Lord, I’m so thankful that I’ve experienced Your great love. I want to know it throughout this day.
Read ROMANS 12:9-21
 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.  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.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  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.  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.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow would you summarize Paul's admonitions?
Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians is, of course, a staple of wedding ceremonies. Poetic and uplifting, it seems tailor-made for weddings—even though my soul groans every time I see it on yet another order of service! I prefer Paul’s words here. They are much more direct and “nitty-gritty.” This passage, studiously applied, could do many marriages a lot of good.
Of course, this passage is not just for newly-weds—it’s for all of us. It’s about what love should look like, worked out in community. More than that, it’s a challenge to come at relationship problems with energy, fervency, and zeal.
Verse 14 onwards really turns up the heat. What does love look like in the face of persecution? This was a real concern for Christians trying to live distinctively under the tyrannical rule of Rome. Paul reminds us that love involves a choice and there’s always a choice to respond in kind. But fighting evil with evil just leads to more evil, he says. The only way to conquer evil is with the full force of goodness.
Ask the Holy Spirit which of Paul’s instructions most needs to be applied to you and listen carefully for his answer.
Lord, may I learn to love and to live as Paul instructs us. Teach me and transform me, I pray.
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