Some mornings you wake up, read a few lines and think, “If we all did this, we would sort out a lot of problems. If we all had this mindset then things would clear up pretty quickly.” I know there are complex problems, but I challenge us to stack those problems on one side and this remedy on the other and consider the outcome.
1 But we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not just please ourselves.
2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good to build him up.
3 For even Christ did not please himself, but just as it is written, "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."
4 For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope.
5 Now may the God of endurance and comfort give you unity with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus,
6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God's glory
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
14 But I myself am fully convinced about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another
Racial tension, privilege, haves and have nots, exploitation, corruption, self-seeking, self-aggrandizing, ignoble purpose... gone. Exclusiveness, short-sightedness... also gone.
During the global pandemic “self-care” has become more of a thing, but we will soon reach a time (as the Covid-19 matter drags on) when human-centered, self-induced optimism that we inject to counter the ravages of hopelessness will not be enough. Then we will have to go deeper.
When we come to recognize that all our hope should come from one place, that all our joy, all our peace does not come from pseudo optimism or anywhere inside ourselves or anywhere “out there” in the universe but from God’s Spirit within us, then we “abound in hope.”
Be honest: do you look around you at the world, the crises, the problems and get hopeless? (Even if you spiritualize it and mutter, ‘Jesus come soon.’) Has your optimism run out? Then imagine your household, your neighborhood, your town or city with everyone doing what Romans 15 says we should do.
As the song says, “And the world would be a better place.” Simplistic?
Perhaps, but the missing verses hold the key. The world was a bit of a mess because man was separated from God.
Jesus Christ came, born a Jew, and extended the good news to every person on the planet declaring we can individually be reconnected to God the Father through God the Son with the help of God the Holy Spirit... every one of us. With our own identity regained our work of serving people and stewarding the planet is restored to its former glory as we become co-laborers with God and our fellow humans, seeking the best for them to the credit of our Creator. Genius.