In this life, it’s hard at times to not want to render Evil for Evil. For a follower of Christ Jesus, one of the strongest and sometimes hardest lessons to learn in life is how to “turn the other cheek” in the midst of adversity. After all, even being metaphorically slapped on the cheek hurts.
In the Bible, found in the book of First Thessalonians, chapter five, verse 15, Paul writes, “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” Wow! Did you see that? “Follow that which is good.” Since the Bible also teaches, “There is none that doeth good, no, not one,” (Romans 3:12), then the only true Good source for us to follow are the examples left to us by Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. And, we know that as He hung on the Cross of Calvary dying for the sins of the world that he lifted up his heart in prayer to the Father saying, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34 KJV).
As we read and know from the Holy Bible, Jesus experienced a heralding and unparalleled twenty-four hours before being marched to the top of Golgotha to be nailed to a cross and crucified. He was beaten, whipped, spat upon, and stripped of his garments. Yet, as he was taking his last breaths of life as God manifested in the flesh upon this Earth, he chose rather to forgive than to render evil for evil. And, oh how He could have brought down the mountains and fire from the heavens upon the heads of those who had sought to kill him. Yet, he opened not his mouth to defend himself, but rather showed mercy, kindness, and forgiveness. What an amazing Savior is mine. Oh, what a Savior!
But, what about you and me? How do we handle adversity, unfairness, and those who wish us harm? Anyone who has ever faced unfair adversity knows how difficult it can be not to “react,” but rather to “act” upon what the Bible teaches. After all, when we feel unfairly treated, it’s hard to understand why or how to make sense of it all. And, reaction is the natural flesh responding to events happening around us or to us. It takes the absolute power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us to help us “act“ in obedience unto the Scriptures and not “react” according to the desires of the flesh. I know; I’ve been there and so have many of you.
Sadly, I have been placed in situations of adversities more than once in my life; much like many of you. So, let me ask you this question. Don’t you wish we all had a “button” that we could press that would allow us to deal with the many injustices within our lives with a smile on our face and a joy in our step? Oh, how I would hold on to that precious button for dear life!
Yet, God is not telling us to “smile” and to become emotionally dead to our attacks. He knows that these things brings hurt and pain to us. Yet, He is telling us not to render evil for evil. In other words, as the old adage goes, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” It takes faith, and even though we might feel it takes a tantum truck load to move our mountains, the Bible teaches…it only takes faith as a mustard seed, to “Let Go and Let God.” Oh, how I need this lesson today in my own life. Amen.
The Bible also teaches in I Thessalonians to “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (5:22 KJV). Since God is instructing us to “abstain for all appearance of evil,” then we are in direct disobedience unto God when we repay evil for the evil that was unfairly inflicted upon us. On the night of Jesus’ betrayal, Jesus spoke unto Peter, “Put up again thy sword into his place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Sixteenth century author, Anthony Munday, wrote this proverbial saying, “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” Oh, dear Lord, let me not perish by man’s sword, but rather let me be rich in the Words of Thy Sword…the Bible…The Words of God.
How many times have I “defended” myself, or put in “my two cents worth,” or “retaliated” from some wrong done unto me to only have my conscience hurt more from my “reactions” than from the actual hurt that had been inflicted upon me in the first place? It actually makes the whole mess even more messier! Instead of praying to forgive those who have transgressed upon my life, I also have to pray for forgiveness for my own “reactions!”
Oh, today, that I might have more tolerance, patience, and understandings when injustices and adversities hit my life. If I could only have as much as faith in Christ Jesus to handle these types of situations in my life as I do for his physical healings in my life. Perhaps, we ( or I) just don’t believe God cares as much about our emotional and mental hurts as He cares for our physical ailments and hurts. But, the Bible clearly teaches, “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee…” (Psalm 55). Oh, how we all need that assurance and sustaining in our lives.
Oh, today that we would all cast our burdens,cares of affliction, and adversities upon the Lord who promises to sustain us in our times of need. I pray for the faith today to be obedient in this area of my life in all matters and circumstances. For, I do not wish to die by the sword or render evil for evil, but possess the sweet assurance that my God will bring all things into Light according to His plan and purpose. (Romans 8:28 KJV)
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, help me not to render evil for evil in my reactions to those who have brought hurt into my life nor to hide evil, guile, or unforgiveness within my heart. Help to sustain me in thy precious Word that it may be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. May I walk therein through all my daily goings and doings in this life. Help me when I fall and fail to do thy will. Help to restore the Joys of thy salvation into my heart and spirit when I have been so badly wounded by those around me. Keep me in thy steps and hide me in thy pavilion, in the clefts of the Rock until I reach that eternal day where I will stand before thee and see you face to face. Amen.”
Today, if you are hurting from the many injustices in this life, I hope that today’s blog may help to ease your pain and hurting heart so that you, too, can find sustaining rest and peace found within the Words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Remember, God Loves You.
Lin T. Rollins, Author