Romans 12: 14-18
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 conceited. 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 peaceably with all.
When asked about the importance of the Law, Jesus summed up the commandments with two basic perspectives. Love God. Love Others.
According to Christ, it is impossible to love God while refusing to love others and I am convinced that loving some of the “others” in our lives requires the supernatural work of God inside of us. Some people are difficult to love – especially if they have intentions to cause us harm. Maybe it is someone you work with or a neighbor or even someone in your family, but both Jesus and Paul tell us to love our enemies and we are to do our best to live peaceably with everyone.
I don’t know about you, but I know my tendencies to take control in such a situation. It doesn’t turn out well. While I tend to confront, Paul gives us very specific and counterintuitive actions to take in the face of adversity:
We are to rejoice with our enemy. We are to feel compassion for them. We are to forgive them. Verse seventeen tells us to never repay evil for evil, so revenge is not an option. On the contrary, we are to feed our enemies if they are hungry. We are to give him a drink if he is thirsty. How easy is all of this for you?
In order to live this kind of real-life love, a supernatural work must begin inside of me and end on the outside of my life and this continually refers me back to the concept of surrendering my life every day.
It requires both a conscious decision on our part and total reliance on Christ and it is possible, even in the most difficult situations.