Be willing to associate with people of low position. (Romans 12:16)
As we continue our study of Romans 12 to see how Paul amplifies the topic of grace as a means of overcoming evil with good, we confront again a “one another” command. Verse 16 says, “Live in harmony with one another.”
The idea here is to be of the same mind with one another. It is not uniformity but unanimity that Paul is encouraging here. How do you do this? By removing the barriers.
In verse 16 Paul lists some of the barriers that keep us from living in harmony with one another: “Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Pride not only goes before a fall, it also stands in the way of harmony. Pride wants things done its way. It is convinced its way is best. Harmony can only be gained and maintained when others surrender to the priority of the one who is proud.
To correct this pride must be eliminated. How does a proud person initiate this? By being willing to associate with people of low position. Some commentators suggest, it is not only people of low position but lowly things as well.
I remember when I was a young man watching a prominent preacher interacting with people after a service where he was the visiting speaker. Whether he did this intentionally or not, I noticed that he had no time for anyone who appeared to be unimportant. His focus was on the important people in the crowd.
I made a silent promise to God that if He ever raised me up to a position of influence I would respect and give attention to everyone equally, including those of low position.