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 evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear 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 12:14-21
As I reflect on this passage I am reminded that possibly the greatest deterrent to people coming to know Christ as their Savior is the behavior of those who call themselves Christians. Let’s face it, sometimes it is really hard to be like Christ in the face of all the sin and injustice in our world. Sometimes it would be nice to have a little bit of justice this side of heaven – or so it would seem. And while we all understand that Christians are far from perfect, there does seem to be a higher expectation on those who profess Christ than on those who don’t.
I think Paul is reminding us of our responsibility to represent Christ in this world and is reminding us of the essential of surrender. Paul is testifying to the characteristics of a surrendered soul in ministering Jesus to a lost and dying world. Notice that our behavior doesn’t look like the flesh. Instead, our actions and attitudes look more like Christ. Such activity can only be derived by one’s surrender. This is the manifestation of Christ in you living through you to ministry Jesus to those who do not know Him. And once again, it all goes back to Romans 12:1-2 – because of the mercy and grace of God experienced in salvation, a believer is compelled to offer his body to God as a living sacrifice so that he might know and experience God’s will. This requires that a believer not conform to the patterns of this world, but instead, that he allows God’s Word, will, and Spirit to transform and sculpt his life for His good pleasure. Before this can occur, a person must recognize the truth of his personhood in light of the majesty of God which affords a fantastic collision of our surrender and humility which generates the love of God both within and outside the church.