Thursday, February 3, 2011

Conquer Evil by Doing Good.

Rom. 12:9-21 NLT  
   9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 
   14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 
   17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 
   19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
     “I will take revenge;  I will pay them back,” says the LORD. 
   20  Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them.  If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap  burning coals of shame on their heads.” 
   21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

What a wondrous description God gives us here, through Paul's instructions, regarding what it would look like when we 'really love' others instead of pretending to do so. It starts with our tight grasp of what truly is good, as we are guided by God within us. We reject lethargy in our service to God serving others meaningfully and with energy. Instead of it being something we feel 'constrained' to do, we will live to love others because we desire to do so. Others we meet-- especially those who say they are in the body of Christ as we are--we will bless and encourage, never judge, condemn, or criticize.  OOPS, there I go meddling again!  That old criticism bug seems to get us misspeaking about others much more than we might like to admit.

Sometimes others will cause us harm-- intentionally or inadvertently. If we are lead by love then we won't seek retribution in any form at any time. Nor will any unfortunate turn of affairs for our tormentor bring us joy. We will play for their blessing despite how we were treated by them. We leave vengeance in the hands of God, where it truly belongs. None of us knows enough about others to allow ourselves to become vengeful. So we live honorable, and repay evil with good because we have sought to hold on to 'good' (vs 9). There is a religion in the world that seeks to spread itself by killing adherents to other religions especially Christians. They claim that as being a good thing but no one agrees with them.  The 'good' that Christ leads us to do is not going to be challenged by others, they will see it as ultimate good.  In these ways we conquer evil with good rather than evil conquering us, as it does adherents to that other religion. Hate of others is antithetical to God's love. We are to only hate what is wrong, but not the people-- the deeds themselves. Hate only the deeds and love and be a blessing to the people, even those who harm you.

I pray you can find a way today to ask the Holy Spirit to bring this true love life style to full power in your life starting today.

Your servant in Christ's love

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