"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." Romans 12:9-13
I love these verses. While doing a study on Romans with my friend last year (it was only last year?!), this paragraph pulled at my attention every time I read it. I've talked about a couple of these verses before but I also wanted to share some thoughts on verse ten; "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."
Typically when I think about "outdoing" someone, what comes to my mind is a proud, selfish way of doing things; to shove someone out of the way to show that you are better than them or to get all the praise. Or maybe getting permission to do something because you know that a sibling wants to do it and you want to annoy them. Before I noticed this verse, I really hated the mindset of "outdoing others" as I thought of it, of doing things just to get noticed rather than because you saw a need and wanted to fill it. Given that I realize that it is slightly ironic that these five verses have since become one of my life passages ;).
But when I first studied these verses, I read that section, "outdo each other in showing honor", and it made me stop and think about what I shared above. I wondered, why would we be told to out do others? Then I backed up and carefully read the verses proceeding it, all about holding to good and doing things through love. And I realized what this verse was trying to point out.
We are not being asked to out do each other in ways that will place temptation to be angry, or with the intent of pointing back at it later as "look what I did".
We are being told to out do "in honor" "through love". Which is NOT sin! This kind of out doing would be things like being the first to say "I'm sorry"; being the first to give up your chair for an elderly person; being the first to offer encouragement.
There is out doing each other in a sinful way that hurts others for your own pride. But then there is out doing others *in honor*. And this truly means, doing all things in humility. Because when you do everything with humility, you will rejoice with those who accomplish great things; not put an emphasis on *what* you are doing, but *why* you are doing it; and bring glory to our Savior through his blessings.