Romans 12:9-21 “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitaltiy. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengence is mine, I will repay says the Lord.’ To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
At GMAU we use Romans 12:18 as part of our training and the main focus with our Hands of Peace form. But recently I have been studying the entire chapter and especially versus 9 – 21. In the ESV Bible is is called the Marks of the True Christian and gives us as believers and martial artists so much wisdom if we choose to hear and abide. It first reminds us to love, and not just go through the motions but to be genuine. Love like Christ loved, everyone. It also warns us to “abhor” evil, but do we truly know what that means and do we practice it. Abhor means to inspire disgust and loathing or repugnant. Do we look at evil with disgust, do we stay away or do we dabble with it? The scripture continues by telling us to try to outdo one another by showing honor, not by other vain competitions. We are not to be lazy but to find ways to serve Christ. And it goes on about how as Christians we should act.
I want to pay particular attention to the end. Verse 19 tells us how we are to treat those that we would consider our enemies. This is right after we are told that we might not be able to live at peace with everyone. We are supposed to provide for our enemies. Elsewhere in scripture it indicates that we should pray for our enemies. This is hard, I know it first hand but it is commanded by God’s word. This along with forgiveness are probably two of the hardest things we are called to as believers. But we must do it. We must put aside differences and even if unable to get along we need to forgive and love. Why, because Christ loved us.