Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.—Romans 12:16
We live in a fragmented society—one of social media opinions and blogs galore, telling one in what camp he must firmly be entrenched. It’s these turncoat liberals, spews the conservative, while the liberal rolls his eyes, his sleeves, and blames the moronic conservatives. Politics, socioeconomics, race, ethnicity—we are a horde of ugly tribes, forever banging our hateful drums at one another.
And it is easy for believers to get caught up in the squabbles of the day, or to create their own amongst their fellow Christians. Thus, the relevance of Romans 12:16, and the stark similarities to the culture Paul was writing to and our own. It is easy for discord to arise over peripheral issues, and even so, this verse isn’t a decree against doctrinal uniformity or universalistic mindsets, but rather a call to common love amid believers. Our gospel and our outpouring of said gospel should bear consistency, especially to the onlooking world.
Also similar is the call to humility. Rome was wealthy and powerful, and hence, Rome’s citizens often had more pomp and more circumstance—or at least more stuff—than those of surrounding areas, and they were proud because of this wealth. Sound familiar at all? And the Bible doesn’t claim that sin is in the having, but in the pride that oftentimes comes with the having. We are not to be proud of our station in life, for all things are from God and ultimately belong to Him. With that mindset at hand, we are to be meek and thankful and loving—to all men and women, of all races and from all nations. Again the Bible displays that all men are equal and only divisible by a single facet—the gospel. There are those that believe in the gospel and those that don’t, and no other divider truly exists among mankind. And tribalism isn’t the answer to the dividing line—no, believers are to love those on their side and the other side of this single dividing line, for it is love that conquers all, and love which makes all things possible (including our very salvation gifted by grace to us and the salvation of others gifted by grace to them).
We are to look on at others in a fair-minded, loving way—a way only achieved by a continual renewal of gospel-produced humility.