Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14-21
One of the hardest things we are commanded to do as Christians is to love those that hate us. That goes against human nature. When someone wrongs us or hurts us our initial instinct is the hurt them back. To repay anger with anger, to get even. Yet Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek. He tells us to walk the extra mile. He tells us to love those who hate us and repay evil with good. I struggle constantly with this command.
It is easy to love our friends and family. For the most part it is easy to love our fellow believers. In fact it is not too hard to love the stranger or the person we have minimal contact with. What is hard is to love those that are not like us that have slighted us, talked harshly to us or cut us off in traffic. No those people are easy to dislike. I get cut off on the road and my first reaction is not to smile and let it pass. No I get mad. Now who is hurt? Not the person who cut me off, they are most likely unaware of what they did and are anyway down the road blissfully ignorant of my feelings. No the person who is hurt is me. I have given over control of my day to a perfect stranger who is most instances is not even aware the control they have over me.
In most instances anger or vengeance hurts the person holding those feelings. They gnaw away at us. They make us bitters and they take the joy out of our life. Kindness and love not only help us they can change the life of the person who has wronged us. When they see a reaction so different than they expect they have to stop and wonder what is going on. It can make them reexamine their life and hopefully bring them to Jesus.
Have a blessed day,