Sometimes there are no words that can express how you’re truly feeling at that moment. Times when sadness is so overwhelming that all you can do is weep. Times when the pain is so sharp that even tears will not come. There are times when I cannot express how much I love my friends without fear of being the weird one (in a bad way), or the fear of them thinking I am saying such things flippantly. I assure you that every time I tell someone I love them, it is with absolute honesty and sincerity.
At any rate…some of my friends are going through some very tough things right now, and sometimes I fear they will take my response for not caring or for being overly dramatic. It’s not that. It’s that I feel exactly what they’re feeling and am sometimes unable to respond in a way that they understand.
This year, these are the verses I’m clinging to; this is what I’m focusing on. God, that I may be salt and light to Your world. That I may respond in a way that is understood by those around me.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
If you prefer the more poetic version, the following are the same verses in The Message (Bible Paraphrase).
9-10Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14-16Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
17-19Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. 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.”
20-21Our 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. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
It is my hope and prayer for all of us today that we live our lives with the purpose and destiny God has granted us. Please be steadfast in praying one for another. If there is anything I can do for you, a prayer that I can agree with you through…just let me know.
Love, Salt, Light…