Connected to Our Enemies - 20 April 2018

Louise Gevers

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge … but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. 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.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21

What today’s Scripture tells us to do isn’t easy because it goes against our natural predisposition, but we know that it’s right, because Jesus did it and set us an example. We realise that hurting someone because they’ve hurt us doesn’t solve the problem and repaying evil for evil just leads to bitterness and further retaliation. Seeking revenge is not our prerogative, but defeating evil with good is, and it promotes goodwill, forgiveness and peace. We may find it appalling to learn about crimes in the media, and hear of court cases which appear not to bring about justice, but we’re even more shocked by the people that take the law into their own hands and do immoral deeds to attain justice.

One day, a retired missionary friend recounted, with some amusement, her experience when a burglar broke into her house. He had said that he was hungry so she went to make him a sandwich, but what had amused her was asking him if he wanted jam on the bread in that bizarre situation. She had remained so calm during what must have been an unnerving experience for an old lady on her own, but she had taken it in her stride and had seen it as an opportunity to literally “feed her enemy” and show him Christ’s love. She suffered no after effects but remained positive and serene.

The influence one person can have through a single action can be life changing, so it’s important for us as Christians to learn to honour Christ and follow His example to love our enemies, even when circumstances are dire. This will always have a positive effect even though we may never understand how, here on earth, but honouring God brings Him glory and us eternal reward. We need to keep short accounts and forgive those who hurt us. Holding a grudge affects our relationship with God, with the person, and sometimes with the people who know them, consequently imprisoning us in a bitter web.

This Scripture “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” (Romans 12:14) stops us justifying ourselves and alienating others. Instead, through obedience we love, and live peacefully as we remain in the power of His Spirit where there’s no place for hostility and revenge.

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please help me to honour You and bless my enemies, and thus overcome evil with good. Amen

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