Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do 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. 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.
My past few days have been so occupied with many activities like having two of my children breaking out with measles and having to spend three days in the hospital and still having to keep awake now to watch over one of them still burning up with fever. Then I have needing to watch my own health due to stress and fatigue. But I thank God that in all Jesus has the final say and my family will be back on their feet to the glory of God alone.
I have not shared a post on this site in about 14days and the work on my books have been halted. So I started to pray and trust God for a word a share that will make an impact on the lives of those who read it. Many passages came to mind as I began to search the word of God, I was blank as to what to write but the Lord will never let His work be left undone and on this site the word of God will not be scarce in Jesus Name.
The passage above is one that when my spirit decided to write on it, I must confess I didn’t know what exactly to write as the passage is self explanatory. But one of the first things that the Lord dropped on my mind when I began to type is found in verse 15 and it says “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” But Paul did not give the category of those to rejoice with or mourn with. The thought that first came to mind is that "what if those who rejoice are not in the circle of believers, are we still to rejoice with them? Then what if the category of those who mourn are not in the circle of believers, are we still to mourn with them? "
Answering this question is not far fetched at all. If the Lord in verse 14 which is the preceding verse says we should bless those who persecute us and not curse them, then we need to understand that those to rejoice or mourn with and in fact pray for are not just those within the circle of believers, but even those who though are consumed in their own ignorance still need a touch of Jesus in their lives.
For quite a number of people, it's appears like hard teaching when the God says do not take revenge. It feels satisfying to the flesh when someone hurts you and you are able to see that person experience in same measure or more of the level of pain they have inflicted on you. But in truth what happens next after you have watched your adversary or persecutor go through any measure of pain. You experience a moment of satisfaction and that ends it.
When God says do not revenge, He does not mean to allow your persecutor to go unpunished, but first there is a level of grace made available to him/her to make room for repentance. The grace that was extended to you through the perfect finished work of Jesus on the Cross at Calvary is in fact open to all to take hold of and benefit from.
Once I read in the news of a head of a Christian Movement in Nigeria advocating for Christians to be allowed to carry arms and fight back against the insurgents that are slaughtering Christians in the name of religion. And although this might sound fair, but is that the God approach to such a matter? I have learned that nothing draws the attention of a man’s heart as much as the fervent and continuous display of love even in the wake of terrible persecution. The devil behind the problem gets confused when you are being persecuted, but rather than hate and fight back you choose the path of love.
The truth is that your labour of love is not an empty effort. It will either cause a change of heart for your persecutor and draw him/her to the source of your strength which is God, therefore causing a repentance of heart for him/her and you would have gained a soul for the Kingdom of God, not with the preaching of mouth but with your actions of love and forgiveness, or it will heap burning coals on his/her head making the wrath of God inevitable. Which ever way it goes, it is win-win situation.
The last thing that caught my attention is what Paul said in verse 18 of the passage, it reads, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” From what we are seeing here, it is understandable when you want to make peace with an adversary and the person isn’t forth coming or not ready for a reconciliation. But the broken peace should not be by your own doing as a child of God, and even in the event that such a thing happens, giving this so called adversary some space is understandable, but not to further aggravate the situation is what I believe the Lord is saying through Paul. As a child of God you need to make every effort to be at peace with all men not withstanding the provocation.
At times when I have to write on an issue such as this, my mind is always quick to go to the story of David and Saul his master who hated him for no reason at all. Instead of David been confrontational and fight for his defense, in 1 Samuel chapters 24 and 26, we read of how David had the golden opportunities to avenge himself and kill Saul, but rather than doing that he let God handle the matter for him and deal with His anointed Himself. But his labour of love and self restrain was not in vain. Saul was eventually dealt with by God and David was anointed king over all Israel.
For as long as it depends on you, the Lord wants you to be at peace with everyone. God requires that you make every effort towards leaving at peace with those around you. When you have this as a focus in your daily relationships with people, it will always be a win-win situation for you.