Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Guidelines for Good Living

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 with 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.

I didn't actually write any of those words. The proper use of commas and other punctuation should be your first clue. :) All of those guidelines for how to live are found in the Bible (Romans 12:9-18) but even if you aren't a Christian and don't believe in Jesus and the Bible, you have to admit that it's all great advice. Love sincerely. Hate evil. Honor others. Be patient in affliction. (That's a hard one!) Live in harmony.

It's good stuff. Not always easy... but good. It's a good way to live.

One of the hardest things can be blessing those who persecute me and not repaying anyone with evil. Sometimes I think it would feel good to dish out a good dose of revenge but the Bible goes on to say...

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. (Romans 12:19-21)

 We always have choices. Every moment of every day is filled with choices. How we will act, respond, live. There is always a good choice and always a bad choice. By seeking revenge I will likely become bitter and angry. If I allow myself to be overcome by evil I will likely isolate myself from others and become depressed and have a lot of anxiety.

But if I honor others and live in harmony, if I I choose to continue doing good and leave it to God... that, I believe, is when miracles will happen.

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