Never Return Evil For Evil

You have heard that it was said,
‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’

But I say to you,
love your enemies,
bless those who curse you,
do good to those who hate you,
and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;
for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good,
and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?
Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?
Do not even the tax collectors do so?

Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

(Matthew 5:43-48)

LORD Jesus, we praise You, for You have loved us so much that You took the punishment for our sins upon Your shoulders, and, while we were yet sinners, You even died for us. Forgive us, O God, we pray, whenever we want to pay back evil for evil. Forgive us, precious LORD, we ask, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen.

Last week’s post challenged us to think about our attitude. We have to continually check our attitude toward God, toward the people He has placed in our life, and the way we perform our daily tasks.

I also shared that, 

Years ago, during a Bible study, the preacher who sat next to me mentioned that we have to “suffer well.” This is easy to say for someone who has no or only little sorrow at the moment. What about the people, though, who have just lost a loved one through death? How about the person who is in great physical pain right now?

People Who Sin Against Us

Yes, it is easy to tell someone else who is hurt to get over it and move on in life. “You have to forget what lies behind and forgive the person who has caused you the pain.”  

What, though, if we are the ones who are in pain? How do we cope with the anger that we are struggling with? What about the bitterness that rises inside of us whenever we are thinking of the person who treated us so badly? 

Hate Our Enemies?   

God never said to hate our enemies. No, not even in the Old Testament. The scribes and Pharisees twisted God’s Word. Truth is, that the LORD tells us that, 

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;

(Proverbs 25:21)

Imagine that, the Word even commands us to help our enemy’s animals (Exodus 23:4-5).

You Have No Idea What I’m Going Through

Years back, I was going through a huge hardship in my life. Most of it felt like a bad, horrible dream. All I wanted to do was to wake up! Oh, how I hated my enemy, and I hated the ones who told me to get over this and forgive the one who has hurt me so much. Who were they to give me such counsel? Could they not show at least a little bit of compassion toward me? I just wanted to scream at them, “But you have absolutely no idea what I’m going through here!” 

Forgive and Forget?

It hurt so bad. The more I tried to forget and forgive, though, the more my anger grew toward the one who has wronged me. I wanted to be a “good Christian” but this one thing kept dragging me down again and again. Just as I thought that it was over and dealt with, it popped right back up in front of my eyes. 

Why Would God Allow This In My Life? 

The worst part of all of this struggle was that the more I fought against it, the more I could not understand why God would allow me to suffer like that. He is God. Surely, He could prevent this hardship, and He could punish the person who has done this to me. Of course He could. Vengeance is His, though, not mine. And whenever vengeance happens, it happens in His (not our) timing!

How To Overcome Evil

Jay E. Adams tells us in his book (How To Overcome Evil) to focus on the welfare of the other person rather than on one’s self, and that this shift in focus from self to the other person is critical.

One way to shift the focus is to pray for the one who has wronged you. Pray? Yes, pray! Never cease to pray for that person. It will not only cause a shift in focus, but it will also gently calm your heart and give you the Peace that surpasses all understanding. 

Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you today.

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