Tuesday, Chapter 12:9-21
Notes for Tuesday:
Today we’re continuing chapter 12, and I continue my argument with you (not simply against you) that our supposed familiarity with this text, in hymn and prayer language, or phrases suitable for Tshirt or bumper sticker slogans – might neglect the mythic framework.
Sure, this is more advice – yes, it makes decent pragmatic teaching – but ‘the evil’ and ‘the good’ is more – part of the Law/Torah/Christ vs Sin/Death/Wrath
I’m not trying to make this apocalyptic – but the reasoning about vengeance, sorting out our agency as agents of God, leaving retribution to God, rather than imposing our moral order on others – we are not simply agents of church, ruling society that’s hard for us to reclaim, living in post-modern and post-colonial culture in a post-Christendom global order –our situation is closer to Paul’s – we are not the conscience of empire!
There is a schadenfreude, or ‘passive-aggressive’ glee, in imagining being nice to opponents, trusting that we ‘heap coals on their evil heads’…. but whether you call it ‘karma’ or St Peter’s gates, the idea is a mythic affirmation of ultimate justice –
Including comeuppance for us all!
9 [Let] love [be] real. Abhor the evil; cling to the good.
10 Love one another with familial love; with respect to honour, esteem one another higher than oneself].
11 With respect to dedication do not be lazy; with respect to the Spirit be boiling. Serve the Lord;
12 rejoice in hope. Endure in tribulation; persevere in prayer.
13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; pursue hospitality.
14 Bless persecutors, bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
16 Be of the same mind with one another. Do not think haughty thoughts but associate with the poor. “Do not be wise in your own eyes” (Prov 3:7).
17 Repay to no one evil for evil. “Be concerned about what is good before all humans” (Prov 3:4)
18 If it be possible, insofar as it depends on you, be at peace with all humans.
19 Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but make room for the Wrath; for it is written: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says YHWH (Deut 32:35)
20 Rather, "if thine enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him to drink; for by doing this thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head” (Prov 25:21-22a)
21 Do not be conquered by the evil but conquer the evil with the good.
9 Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good.
10 Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11 Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master,
12 cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder.
13 Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath.
15 Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down.
16 Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.
17 Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone.
18 If you've got it in you, get along with everybody.
19 Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."
20 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness.
21 Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.