This morning I read verses 9-21 of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans in Eugene Peterson’s version of the Bible called “The Message”. The Message is my favorite version of the Bible because Mr. Peterson’s unfamiliar words and expressions make me stop and think. I’ve copied those few verses below. You can look them up in your favourite Bible translation just to see the difference. Take time to think about what these words mean to you. Then read my thoughts that follow.
Romans 12: 9-21 Love in Action (The Message by Eugene Peterson)
9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
My Reflection on Romans 12: 9-21 Love in Action
This morning my task is to write my newspaper column for the Millbrook Times that will be published the first week of February. As I read Paul’s words, my mind was on Valentine’s Day, our modern celebration of Love. My definition of love is “Seeing, living, believing with my heart.” Some people call that sincerity – being real. We respect a person who speaks and acts with sincerity. When we love with sincerity, from & with our hearts we let go of all pretence. We no longer try to impress, say and do what is expected. We are vulnerable, all protection is gone. Our risk is huge. That’s why it hurts so much when we are rejected.
The last few days I’ve been sending my latest manuscript off to agents and publishers. It’s not been fun because I write from my heart. My books carry a message of acceptance, inclusivity and love which I believe is the core foundation of peace. Any time I put my books out for evaluation or sale I take a risk. I am vulnerable.
Loving with sincerity, living from my heart is risky and yet Paul’s words tell me it’s the best way to live.
How do St. Paul’s words connect with your life? Read it slowly, carefully. Write down the thoughts that are triggered for you. If you like, share them as a comment on this blog. Have a great day.