Thursday, November 15, 2012

...Evil for Evil...

Romans 12:17-21
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I am the first to admit that these verses are hard for me to do. To be completely honest with you, I am someone who wants to pay evil with evil. I have to always to be on guard with my thinking and my actions about this. These verses summarize the core of Christian living. If I love someone by the way Christ loves me, then I should be willing to forgive. If we have experienced God’s grace, then we should be will to pass it on to others. And remember, grace is undeserved favor. By giving an enemy a drink, we’re not excusing their misdeed. We’re recognizing him, forgiving him, and loving him in spite of his misgivings- just as Christ did for me. 

We live in a day of constant lawsuits and incessant demands for legal rights, Paul’s command sounds almost impossible. When someone hurts me deeply, instead of giving that person what they deserve, Paul says to befriend them. Why does Paul say for me to forgive someone who is my enemy, who does me wrong? 1- Forgiveness breaks the cycle of retaliation and leads to reconciliation. 2- Repaying evil for evil hurts not just your enemy but you as well.  Even if my enemy never changes, forgiving them will free me from the heavy load of bitterness. 

Forgiveness involves both attitude and actions. If I find it difficult to feel forgiveness toward someone who has hurt me, then I try respond with kind actions. If appropriate, tell this person that you would like to heal the relationship. Lend a helping hand. Smile at them and right actions will lead to right feelings.

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