When You are Hated…, Part 2
November 15, 2020
We all have expectations for relationships. We have desires for how they will work and what we will receive through those relationships. However, we live in a fallen world, so…
- Our relationships will never work completely according to our plan
- Our relationships will never live up to all our expectations
- Our relationships will always grapple with some kind of difficulty
- Our relationships will always need to improve
I have a number of books about relationships and most of them give at least a hint at the difficulties bring in the titles: Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, War of Words, How to Deal with Powerful Personalities, Losing that Lovin’ Feeling, Picking Up the Pieces: Recovering from Broken Relationships, Pursuing Peace: A Christian Guide to Handling Our Conflicts, Broken-Down House: Living Productively in a World Gone Bad, When a Mate Wants Out, and What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage.
We all have relationships and we want good relationships, but relationships are hard and they are often broken because others sin against us — and that’s even among Christians. It is even more true that unbelievers will sin against you and defraud you and be unconcerned to reconcile and be hostile toward you when you attempt to put things right. What will you do?
Paul answers that question in Romans 12:17-21 by saying,
When people are personally opposed to you, trust God to do what is right.
Remember also that Paul is not talking here about our relationships with institutions (he will address that in chapter 13); he is talking about our interpersonal, private relationships. He has in mind relationships like parents, children, spouses, neighbors, co-workers…
In this passage Paul provides four principles for how to act when we are directly wronged by others (and I think he particularly is thinking of unbelievers).
- Do Not Respond in Kind to Evil (v. 17)
- Be a Peacemaker with Everyone (v. 18)
- Never be Vengeful (v. 19).
- Be Gracious by Blessing Your Enemies (vv. 20-21)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 12:17-21.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.