This is the last verse in a paragraph called “Living to please others” in Romans 15. Here Paul encourages us to live for others and not just for ourselves – that we should have an open heart when it comes to accepting and loving people, keeping no grudges and holding no prejudices.
It is all about how to build and live in community with one another.
There are many things that will come and mess with that idealistic picture of community, e.g., hurt and disappointment. When I was writing the words “keeping no grudges and holding no prejudices,” I said to myself “WOW! That's challenging stuff!” It’s challenging because so often we use other people, and their ‘acceptance’ of us, as our source of hope – we draw from them the love and confidence we need to live our lives. Which is OK until that person hurts us, breaks our trust, betrays, disappoints, doesn't deliver… I think we’ve all been on both ends of those situations.
“Hope puts us in a position of strength and generosity.”
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So in the context of community, this verse carries great weight…
God is our source of HOPE – it is His love for us that gives our life meaning and purpose. And by putting our hope in God and drawing joy and peace from Him as we give HIM our trust, it gives us the freedom to love others and live in community (relationship) without having to draw from them what we need to live our lives. It puts us in a position of strength and generosity.
When we look to God, our source of hope and we live trusting His word, it is then that we will overflow with confident hope. It's a hope that doesn't depend on the acceptance or approval of others. Whether people like us or not, hurt us or bless us, mock us or encourage us, we will still overflow with confident hope. Which means that out of that overflow, no matter what the temperature of a certain situation is, we can be generous with our love and acceptance of others. Remember today, God is the source of your hope… trust in Him.
Written by Liz Milani