Bless people who harass you — bless and don’t curse them.
Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart. Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good.
If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. It is written, Revenge belongs to me; I will pay it back, says the Lord. Instead, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this, you will pile burning coals of fire upon his head. Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good.
“Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville — did not. The Grinch hated Christmas — the whole Christmas season. Now, please don’t ask why; no one quite knows the reason. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. Or it could be that his head wasn’t screwed on just right. But I think that the most likely reason of all . . . may have been that his heart was two sizes too small. But, whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes, he stood there on Christmas Eve hating the Whos.”— Narrator, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Sometimes I feel Grinchy. It’s true. When the stores put out Christmas decorations in October, I grumble under my breath and push my cart quickly past the offending merchandise. When the same, tired family issues come around each year, and we have to put together our holiday puzzle, I most certainly feel sour. But Romans 12:18 gives us some pretty great advice: “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” That passage acknowledges that I cannot control or be responsible for all of my family members. But it is still up to me to do everything I can to live peaceably with them.
When I started to write this devotion, I was surprised it didn’t contain the part where the Grinch’s heart bursts through that golden heart-measurer thing. Bummer! I’ve seen the movie a million times, so how did I not realize that I chose the opening scene, where the Grinch gets his wonderful, awful idea? Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention. But maybe those two scenes are forever linked. Sometimes our shoes are too tight, our family drives us crazy, or we feel jealous of what someone else has. But it is up to us to overcome those feelings, leave our cave, drive down Mt. Crumpit and join in the celebration.
Dear God, help me to live peaceably with all. Amen.