17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my 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.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I don’t know about you but there are some times in my life when I’ve been done wrong that I want to take matters into my own hands! Most infractions don’t make me feel this way, but then there are some……that just get my blood boiling and I want to retaliate! We know that this reaction is a by-product of a very sinful nature that wars constantly with the nature of God that is within us. Of course Paul deals with these feelings head on and encourages us – well maybe admonishes us is a better word – not to take matters into our own hands.
It is truly, at times and depending on the infraction, a desire of ours to repay evil for evil. But we know also from the old sayings of our mommas and grandmommas – two wrongs don’t make a right! As Christians we have to rise above what others have done to us and allow God to have His perfect way not only in the person(s) that have wronged us – but also His perfect way in us as well. We sometimes think, “God has got to teach them a lesson!” But in all reality, He is also teaching us a few things about ourselves and about Him as well! I like to call these “teaching moments.” I try to use teaching moments with my kids when something comes up in our lives that has a learning moment attached to it. Well, God uses those times in our lives when others have done us wrong to teach us many lessons. We just have to be willing to learn them and open our hearts to receive them.
We sometimes get so caught up in the person who has done us wrong or the situation surrounding how they’ve done us wrong that we don’t look past it to what God is trying to teach us and how He’s trying to grow us.
Paul tells us to do what we have most likely heard all of our lives: overcome evil with good! We think this is crazy! Feed our enemy? Be kind to those that have abused us? It wouldn’t be in the Word if it was not only possible, but also necessary. We’ve heard this type of strategy before! Mahatma Ghandi preached it, Martin Luther King, Jr., preached it, Nelson Mandela preached it. It works! Paul says that God will take care of the perpetrator – you only need to trust in the Lord to do whatever is necessary and to behave yourself in accordance with the love and forgiveness of God – of which you, yourself, have been a recipient!
I know it hurts when we’ve been done wrong – but God has got our back! Stand strong, keep your head up and behave yourself! It’s amazing what forgiveness will yield!
c/Candie A. Price
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