In the Eyes of Everyone
Our Sunday School class has been methodically moving through chapter 12 in the book of Romans this month, and last week we got to one of those passages that needs to be ruminated on.
Verse 12:17-18, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
What caught my attention and held if for days on end was the phrase “in the eyes of everyone”. The Holy Spirit kept that thought fresh in my mind for days on end searching for its meaning, a loophole or just some way of comprehending the all encompassing word “everyone”. What do we do about philosophical or methodological differences that we find inside the church? What about ideological and political differences outside of it. At what point as a believer do I exercise my theological understanding of right and wrong over grey areas we find culturally to help those around me who might disagree? As our class discussed the nuances of the passage as well as the context of chapter 12 as a whole we came to an agreement about some basics around this topic. The main one is that all of us have an inner streak of pride that burns when we aren’t allowed to do what we want, when we want or how we want it. The child of God is in a constant battle of humility and submission to not only Christ, but to one another. I think we pick up on the significance of this when we read passages like I Cor. 9:19-23. Here Paul realigns himself not with any personal preference or cultural interpretation, but rather with the gospel. The gospel that everyone needs around us, whether currently in Christ or apart from him. The Gospel that continually and humbly reminds us of our gracious and loving Savior who took on sin and death so that we might have his righteousness. In the light of that when I read the phrase again “in the eyes of everyone” I am reminded that every moment of everyday is an opportunity to communicate the gospel to those around me. Through words, actions or the manner in which I serve and care for those around me they can be ushered into the loving presence of a gracious savior.