Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:9, 15 NKJV
In Romans 12:9, Paul begins a section of his letter that your Bible app eloquently titles, “Behave like a Christian.” Though we know God’s Word in it’s entirety is our road map for living, sometimes a section title is a good indicator that we’re in the right place (I think this is one advantage we’re blessed with). Sometimes, not only as Christians, but as people, we just don’t know what to do. We don’t know what to say, what not to say, when to move, or when to be still. We risk missing divine opportunities by overthinking the simplest details. One thing God is showing me is, “It’s not that hard.” As I find myself grieved by the troubles in the world, from COVID-19 to the unemployment rate to the murders of black and brown people, I sometimes think, “Lord this is just TOO much.”
Before every new year, I conclude with prayer and fasting (“cause that’s my business”). I ask the same question, “What do you have planned for me this year?” 2020 was about vision and maturing in my identity. Now that I look back over these past six months, I see it. I’ve been seeing but now I can acknowledge what God was up to all along.
I see in the spirit, I see the evils (both inside and outside the church), I see the division, I see the lawlessness, I see the injustice, and so much more. But I have to ask myself, “What do I do?” If this is what has to happen then fine but where do I stand, Lord?
He says, “With me”
Whatever side the Lord is on, I’m on. If He loves all, then I’ll love all. What He hates, I will hate. If He’s slow to anger, then I’ll be slow to anger. If He seeks truth, then I’ll seek truth. But He also instructs us on how to stand with others. When others rejoice, we rejoice. When they mourn, we mourn.
As Christians, we have our own standard to live up to but are we living it? Beginning at verse 9, for example, we are to love without hypocrisy. That means we don’t pick and choose when and who to love. At verse 14, we bless those that persecute us. What does that mean? Let those that harm us continue? Bless means to invoke divine favor on someone, in other words, give it to God. When we say, “God bless you” it means may God’s will be over you. What that is, it’s not for us to know.
This is no Christian scapegoat, however, to deter our spiritual and moral responsibility on earth. We are to rejoice with those who rejoice [share in their joy] and mourn with those who mourn [share in their mourning]. I believe this is where we as believers miss the mark. We can be oblivious to divine timing and come across as insensitive or pretentious. We say, “Oh let’s just pray about it” or some other church language but there comes a time when the Lord wants us to get in the sorrow with them. We as believers grieve differently (1 These. 4:13). We have hope and endless joy but we are living in a world where some may not have that.
So, again we ask, what do we do? If someone is drowning, do you throw a Bible at them? Do you read the scriptures from the shore? Do you pray that someone would save them from drowning? Or do you get in the water and pull them out?
We’ve got to learn to get in the water with others in this season. You may not understand, you might not relate, but as a believer you’ve got to get in with them. We are equipped in these situations, lets not love from the shore. Let’s not love by our words but our deeds. This world needs God arms wrapped around them. They need to feel His love and that’s what we’re here for.
So, when you see the posts in the media about one tragedy or the next. Stop, pray, then ACT. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Don’t be afraid to dive in deep after them. If you want to see others saved, then save them. We can do this church. We’ve been awaiting these times. Can we agree to take up our spiritual and moral responsibility?