The inspiration for this devotion comes from Romans 12:16-21 which says, "

Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on YOU, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,' says the Lord. 'BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." 

I came across this verse while thinking about some of my old friends that I will be playing softball with this summer, friends that knew me before I accepted Christ. I had also had a conversation with my Dad about whether or not you should associate with those who may not do things that you agree with. I think about Jesus first of all and how he was known for associating with sinners, tax collectors, the diseased, drunkards, and the sexually immoral to name just a few. Whenever Jesus is asked about why he associates with these kinds of people he simply says that he is here to save those that are lost or those that are blind and do not understand the Word of God. And as this verse says, "do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly". If you're a Christian this is God's gift to you to glorify Him by being an example of His righteousness. Do not look down upon those who sin because you are a sinner also. 

The next part of this verse says to "Never pay back evil for evil to anyone". This tells me that if someone treats you wrongly or sins against you, do not turn around and do the same to them, even if it is in a different way, or maybe not as bad in your eyes. What do we do then? The last part of this verse tells me, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good". What a concept! Think about it, if someone wrongs you pay them back with goodness and love. Shower them with it, drench them with love and they will not be able to deny their wrong doing. I believe this is one of the toughest concepts to grasp, to swallow our pride and turn the other cheek. But as the verse also says, "If possible, SO FAR AS IT DEPENDS ON YOU, be at peace with all men". That's right folks, Gods word says that it depends on you and me, individually, to be at peace with others. We can't wait for others to initiate peace, we must take the initiative as true followers of God. This summer I am going to associate with those who don't know God and don't follow His word and I am praying that God will use me as an example of His righteousness. So I challenge each of you to associate with those who wrong you and offer them God's love. God will be waiting with your reward. 

Jason Becker