As Much As It Depends On You (Romans 12:17-21) *All verses in NKJV*
– Up until this point in Romans, Paul has been preaching the Good News about Jesus being the Messiah. Helping the Jews and the Gentiles gain a deeper meaning of the Gospel.
– Now the “application” part of Romans. Taking what you’ve learned and applying it to your lives.
– My NKJV bible titled this section, “Responsibilities Towards Others.” My online bible labeled it, “Behave Like a Christian.”
– These verses are a continuation of the verses from last week, and more instruction on what it looks like to walk out your Christian faith.
– Romans 12:17-21, Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
#1. Follow the Golden Rule.
– Remember the Golden Rule growing up? “Do unto others what they have done to you.”
– Matthew 7:12, Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
– Treat people the way you want to be treated. This is what the bible says YOU should do, regardless of what THEY are doing. The burden is on YOU, not on them.
– Don’t say: Well, they are treating me poorly, so that means that they must want me to treat them poorly. Really, that is just trying to make yourself feel better for being mean, to mean people.
– “Hurting people, hurt people.” Don’t assume motives. They might be in crisis and need some grace.
– Be someone who treats others well, even if they are mean to you.
– Romans 12:17-18, Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
– Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable, and do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
– Example: Driving on the freeway, frustrations we can all relate to…
– Drivers are rude! Speeding, no turn signals, cut you off, tailgating, swerving to the exit…
– What is the horn for? Warn people of danger, or for a punishment!
– A lot of retaliation: “eye for an eye”, or should I say, “break-check for a break-check.”
– I think the problem is drivers have no self-awareness. They are only thinking of themselves, not realizing that their driving is affecting other people around them.
– What kind of driver are YOU? Have you considered how your driving affects those around you?
– I think how people drive is a reflection on how they live their lives.
– Do you let people merge, make mistakes, slow you down, etc…? Or are you the one tailgating, break-checking, or riding their blind spot? Or do you lack all self-awareness to even know?
– In the traffic on the road of life, you should consider how your behavior affects others’ lives.
– Maybe the other driver is not being a jerk, but is lost, or in crisis, or new to driving. Or maybe they are just as oblivious to their impact on you, as you are about you impact on them. (Example: dash-cam video of drivers, cut-off, chase happens, finally ends and each yelling apologies to each other.)
– My dad taught me how to be a “defensive driver.” That’s how he lived is Christian life too.
– Live peacefully with ALL men, “as much as it depends on you.” Paul recognized that our efforts will sometimes be frustrated by other people’s unwillingness to be reconciled to us.
– Have you really done everything you could? Do you show them the grace God has shown you?
– Eph 4:32, And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
– In case you think this implies that, because we need to “repent and ask” Christ for his forgiveness, SO that means others have to ask us, BEFORE we need to forgive…
– Consider Romans 5:6-8 and 10,For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…. Verse 10, For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…
– Christ died for US while we were sinners, and you want to burn your brother in Christ on a technicality?
– Col. 3:12-13, Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
– Your fellow citizen’s offense towards you is nothing compared to your offense towards God. You want others to forgive your mistakes, don’t you!
In true humility, offer the forgiveness to others, as you would want them to forgive you!
#2. You are not one of the Avengers.
Verse 19, Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
– Revenge is one of the most popular themes for movies. Inflicting harm of someone who harmed you is the ultimate justice in our world. 10x worse, and by your own hands, is priceless…
– I have had those thoughts. Get my “pound of flesh” now, ask for God’s forgiveness afterward.
– Jesus addressed this “get even”, or “get them back” mindset:
– Matthew 5:38-44, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
– This is the exact opposite or what our flesh, and our culture, wants us to do.
– That is why we cannot truly walk out this Christian life without the Spirit of God inside of us!
God is Bigger!
– You needing to retaliate and exact vengeance on those who hurt you, implies that you either think God won’t handle it, or He can’t handle it.
– God is bigger than your situation! God is bigger than your hurts! God is bigger than all of this!!
– God is in control, and we have to trust Him in all things. We have to believe that he can handle it, and that he will handle it… In His way, on His timeline.
– God doesn’t need your help in punishing the wicked. Your heart doesn’t want that burden anyways.
– This means that your goal shouldn’t be to “get even”, or “get revenge”, or even to be “made whole.” Your goal should be to honor good in all you do, and let Him sort it out.
– Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
#3. Therefore, do the next thing I say.
– Romans 12:20, Therefore, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
– “Therefore” is the application word. It comes between what you were just taught, and what you should do about it.
– Do what you can to live in peace, don’t seek revenge against those who wronged you, AND love and serve your enemies, instead of trying to punish them.
– Caring for the basic needs of your enemy is basically doing the opposite or vengeance.
– Ironically, being kind to you enemy will frustrate them more than being mean back to them.
– Don’t let evil people bring you to do evil things. Conquer evil by pleasing God in your actions.
– Romans 12:21, Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
– Your kindness might make others want to know the God you serve, and that should be the goal!
– Prayer –
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