Many of us spend our days swimming in a sea of information. We U.S. Americans look at screens over 10 hours a day on average, and most of us read and listen to music or news as well. Most of the media we take in doesn't come as cold, hard facts but rather as interpretations, opinions, and ways of looking at the world. We feel differently about life after listening to Johnny Cash as opposed to Lady Gaga, and over the course of our normal day we may be exposed to dozens of competing ways of thinking about the world and how we should live in it. We protect ourselves by ignoring most of what comes at us, but nonetheless it can be a dizzying experience!
So to me Romans 12:9-21 comes as a very welcome moment of clarity. When I get swamped and disoriented by everyone's competing perspectives, when I can't decide which global issue to be most worried about or which personal diet plan I should stick to, these wonderful words can help sort out my priorities.
"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep."
"If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
Each of the 13 verses in this selection are absolute gems, pure and poetic. They give me more than helpful advice, they give me a way of thinking that helps make sense of the information blasting at my brain like a firehose aimed at a teacup. How do I react to my coworker's post about getting a promotion over me? What should the governments of the world do about North Korea? Why does my irritable uncle keep calling? Paul's words don't give us any direct answers, but they sure can help us find those answers for ourselves. They point us towards a simple walk with God that can ease much of our self-doubt and disorientation. May that simple walk come easily to each of us this week.
Blessings of peace and productivity be with you all,