Romans 12:9-21 (ESV)
Marks of the True Christian
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[a] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[b] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[c] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
As I read today’s reading from Romans, I kept coming back to when I was growing up and learned the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12). I remember this rule being on the wall in my Sunday School room. I also remember my third grade teacher Mrs. Cox saying it to us. Mrs. Cox was old-school, and she was old, so I guess those two things combined meant she didn’t care about mixing religion and public school. I can hear her voice in my head telling our class to “Remember the Golden Rule.” I don’t think she was so much trying to impose her religion on us, but rather to give us a good moral foundation.
Today’s reading says just what Mrs. Cox was trying to tell us back in the third grade—Be good people! Don’t seek revenge but give forgiveness. Bless others, don’t curse them. Give to the needy, don’t give in to evil. And, of course, serve the Lord in everything you do.
Looking back I am sure I thought of Mrs. Cox as the crazy old teacher, but she taught me Charlotte’s Web and Little House on the Prairie and the Golden Rule! Thank you, Mrs. Cox! I hope there are still a few “old-school” teachers like you around today.
Dear Lord, thank you for putting people like Mrs. Cox in our lives. Whether they are a parent, teacher, clergy, or someone else who made a difference in our lives, remind us to thank them
and let them know we were listening. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written by Terri Harms Preschool Director of Daily Operations firstname.lastname@example.org