Friday, September 23, 2016
Do you like challenges? I always have. In fact, taking on many dares in my years before Christ, got me into some serious, even dangerous, situations many times. And although I still like challenges, the ones that appeal to me now are of a very different nature because of Christ. I sensed a couple of potential challenges this morning. This was the first one: “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15 KJV) The second one came from Jesus Himself when He said: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
I had just been seeing the latest news of the civil unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina which arose after the shooting by police of a seemingly innocent man, and then I came across these two bible verses. These verses most definitely apply to that type of situation. On the one hand, and humanly speaking, I can understand how people’s anger and frustration can cause them to lose control, leading them to do things they normally would not do. As it regards God’s children, however, we should be led by our new God given nature. Our fist verse today instructs us to not pay evil for evil, to always follow after that which is good. There were no “ifs” or “buts” either before or after the declaration. If someone did us wrong and we payed them back in kind, they sinned against God and so did we.
Christ’s words in the latter verse go even further. He clearly taught that we should do good to those who do us wrong. Now, that’s a challenge! Its really not that hard to tell the Lord in our prayers that we have forgiven those who hate us or have sinned against us, asking Him to bless them in the process. The hard part, the one that clearly goes against our human nature, is to pay them back in love, kindness, or by way of a good deed. I can personally tell you that this method works, that we can win over those who previously opposed us. What about you? Is there someone in your life who doesn’t like you very much, perhaps someone you yourself are not too crazy about? If that’s the case, I hope you like challenges and that you’ll take this one. If you do and are successful, you’ll have one less heavy burden to carry.
God’s promise for today: (Matthew 5:9) “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”