“Outdo One Another” (Romans 12: 10, ESV) by Carley Evans


Love each other, says Paul. Love each other in the same way you love your siblings — with a brotherly or sisterly affection. “Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Paul says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” (Romans 12: 14) “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” (Romans 12: 17)

And, he writes: “Let love be genuine.”
And, “Hold fast to what is good.”

Holding fast to the good is such a map for happiness. If you see the good in the other, then you are able to bless the other even as he curses you. If you see the good in the moment, then you will not repay evil for evil. Instead you will do what is perceived as honorable to all. Such a paradox exists in the Christian walk. We walk by faith, hoping for that which is unseen. Our hope is that good will outdo evil, that perfection will triumph over imperfection, that God will be triumphant over the evil one.

And of course God is triumphant and good does overcome evil. Perfection does overwhelm imperfection, and holiness swallows sin.

Therefore, let your love be true. Hold fast to the good. “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

“Obligations” (Romans 13: 6 – 7, HCSB) by Carley Evans


Paul commands us to “pay [our] obligations to everyone: taxes to those [we] owe taxes.” Paul is not an anarchist; he does not call for us to overthrow our government.

Look at the government Paul is commanding Christians of his day to obey — a corrupt system which nevertheless provides roads, schools, access to water and to medical care while simultaneously providing temples for the worship of false gods and arenas for horrific forms of entertainment.

Today is no different — we are to pay our taxes, vote our consciences, express our disagreements with respect. Paul commands, “Pay your obligations to everyone: respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.”