“Our need to win often trumps our commitment to humility, decency, and respect.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 18, 2022
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10, ESV
We live in a culture of winners and losers. You can win a championship in sports, win on the stock market, and win political races. And all too often, in order to win we must exploit the weakness and shortcomings of others, usually to their shame and disrespect. Increasingly it seems this is a steam train that is only picking up more and more speed. Our public discourse is at an all-time low, with basic human decency thrown out the window, instead replaced with below the belt punches whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Sadly, this same spirit is often seen within the family of faith. In the name of defending our beliefs or even God himself, we frequently lose sight of the dignity and worth of “the other,” reducing them to positions or actions with which we disagree. Of course, we may have good reason and sure foundations for our disagreement, yet frequently our need to win trumps our commitment to humility and honor, even in the face of disagreement.
St. Paul often used competitive language in his letters, urging the early Christians on in the race of faith. And yet, we must not miss the fact that his vision of “the prize” was wildly different than what we so often accept as worthy of our time and devotion. For Paul, “winning” was closely tied to a commitment to elevate and honor others, even at great personal expense. If and when we strive to beat someone else, to “outdo” them in biblical terms, the competition is squarely built upon our unwavering resolve to honor one another.
It is relatively easy to honor people we deem worthy of honor. This may be a beloved public figure or faith leader, or it can be as intimate as a parent, sibling, or spouse. We tie their worthiness of honor to their beliefs, accomplishments, or intimate proximity. Yet, and this is key, how do we honor the humanity of those with whom we profoundly disagree, or those who have wounded and betrayed our confidence and trust? Honor in these cases does not mean we ignore or dismiss the disagreements or betrayals. However, as forgiven and reconciled sinners, we too must view others through this lens, refusing to say that any person is fully defined by their faults, but is instead a human being made in God’s image, and therefore worthy of honor and a belief that even their greatest shortcomings can be healed and transformed by the all-consuming fire of God.
Father, teach us to love as you love and to see others as you see them, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
How can you take St. Paul’s words to heart and today choose to outdo one another in showing honor and love?
Jesus Culture ft. Chris Quilala: Make Us One
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