Show Love Instead

Anokina Shahbaz, Volunteer Writer, Huntley | May 13, 2024

“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.”
Romans 12:14-16

It follows us wherever we go, like a shadow. It’s there when we wake up first thing in the morning and there again when we lay our head on the pillow at night to fall asleep. It is so deeply ingrained that we cannot separate ourselves from it. What is it? Our sin nature.. 

In her poem, “Small Kindnesses,” Danusha Laméris has a beautiful line that reads, “Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.” I believe that. God intended the world to be without harm. But sin came in and changed all that. Detrimentally curious, we chose to believe the enemy’s lies that something was missing. In our selfish quest for knowledge that was not ours to steward, we did the one thing God asked us not to do and suffered the consequences.

What Paul is asking of us in this passage runs counter to our (mostly) natural tendencies. When was the last time you blessed those who persecuted you? When was the last time you put your pride aside when you had the choice? We all want to live in harmony with each other, so long as it doesn’t cost us anything; so long as we don’t have to sacrifice our freedom, our comfort, or our wants.

We have to be willing to go against our sin nature, as difficult as it can be, because it conflicts with God’s will. What God is inviting us into is a transformational process whereby as we grow in His likeness, the spaces we occupy can be made holy. 

Every time we bless instead of curse, every time we show love instead of contempt, every time we choose not to take revenge and instead “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21), it makes a difference. These actions combined shift our world’s narrative from one of despair into hope, from broken into healing. If anything should follow us wherever we go, let it be the Holy Spirit within us, that we may “be able to test and approve what God’s will is” (Romans 12:2).

Next Steps

Reflect on which of your natural tendencies run counter to God’s values and invite Him into these places so they can be transformed for His kingdom.