A Whole New Level

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly.  Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12).

How easy it is to take things out of context! How many times have we read or heard verses 15-16, as if they were standing on their own—and yet, when you look at what is written both before as well as after them, the context is clearly dealing with your enemies and those who persecute us. Thus, we are supposed to rejoice and weep with those who persecute us, and not think we are any better than they. Wow! This takes matters to a whole new level, doesn’t it?

Yet, that is the way of our Christian faith: it always takes matters to a whole new level—which only makes sense, when we remember from which it came. It came from a God who is high and lifted up and who is above all things; it comes from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; it comes from the Spirit who is called Holy.

Lord, we desperately need Your help in blessing our enemies—rejoicing and weeping with them; not thinking we’re better than they; not seeking revenge; and taking care of them. This Day may we bless them at least by praying for them.  Amen.