Written by Molly Baskette
"Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good." - Romans 12:9
It's sometimes said that Jesus would be nothing, a footnote in a dusty tome of Jewish history, if not for Paul. Paul, who had a hand in spreading Christianity far and wide beyond Jerusalem, was the marketing genius and Hollywood agent who made Jesus a star.
Or maybe a better metaphor is: he was Jesus' campaign manager, distilling the message into Twitter-worthy bits that caught the imagination of both slaves and royalty, men and women, religiously observant and None.
We're living through a presidential election season unprecedented in its incivility and locker-room barbs. Would that those candidates who claim to follow Jesus would tape this short, sweet and mighty pericope from Romans 9 above the dressing-room lights for a go-time cheer. Here it is, with a little annotation from yours truly.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good. Note: the scripture says hate what is evil, not hate who is evil. Also: this line would benefit from the addition of two words: "in yourself." It's a sin to be too certain that we know what is evil—and what is good—especially if it's located outside ourselves.
Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. The "another" could, and likely does, mean anyone, especially the (type of) person you find hardest to love.
Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Zeal is a good thing…especially when it doesn't make you intolerable to, or intolerant of, others.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Especially prayers unrelated to polling numbers.
Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.Including the guy in the Black Lives Matter tee shirt or the Armani suit.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rinse and repeat!
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep…to stay in touch with the situation on the ground, and the experience of real people living there.
Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Do not claim to be wiser than you are.
Amen, Amen, Amen.