It’s a darn good thing that I’m involved with Bible study…in more ways than one. One grand benefit that studying scripture affords me is the opportunity to measure my life, my words, my thoughts and deeds according to God’s word.
There are days…I’m feeling right fine about myself….but when I read the Word of God…well let’s just say the Holy Spirit is working overtime…doing some conviction. Not condemnation mind you…no that’s the work of Satan. But conviction…that’s something else.
It’s kind of like that internal pressure that nudges me to repentance and obedience.
This year I’m studying the book of Romans in BSF. I just love it…it’s my second time around and Romans is my very favorite book of the Bible. This last week we studied chapter 12:9-21. This passage talks a lot about love, walking in love and not seeking retribution on your enemies.
Not that I have an abundance of enemies…but I think it’s rather hard to get through this life without ruffling a few feather along the way. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes not.
I found this passage to be a most helpful reminder on how I am to act toward people whom I may not like. As a Christian…I’m called upon to die to self. That means laying down my grudge or rights and acting how God calls me to act towards them.
How should I act toward my enemies? God calls me to do good unto my enemies. Not only do good…but bless them too. He affirms that in His perfect timing, if He deems it necessary, He will avenge wrongs.
The question is…am I going to trust God and take Him at His word? What will be a sign that I’m trusting God? It will be my obedience to His commands.
So how might I bless my enemies? One of the first things that comes to mind is to pray for them. For their salvation and for God help them, guide them and direct them when they are having difficulties. Praying for someone’s salvation…even for your enemy is easy in comparison to blessing them. Sometimes that might mean acting in a kind way as you would towards a friend. It might be praying that God would bless them…and help them to get that promotion or find a husband or take a much needed restful vacation.
Trusting God…is what makes the difference. Having that eternal perspective instead of getting caught up with what’s happening down here on earth.
Perhaps as I do good to my enemies…God will work in each of our lives and make a friend out of an enemy. Friends are much easier to forgive…and I’m happy when God blesses my friends…and I don’t anxiously await their judgment.
Recently…God showed me the fruits of restraint. A while back…after walking though the door…an individual walked several feet away from me and proceeded to make a nasty remark about me. Not discretely or in whispered tones to a friend…but instead quite loudly to an audience. While flummoxed, hurt and angry inside…I chose to ignore it and move on. As I continued to interact with this person…I made sure that I treated them considerately. Little did I know how right that choice was. After the passing a beloved relative…God opened the door for me to interact with them. I was able to be genuinely caring and offer a kind word. Now if I had reacted like I had wanted to when originally offended…I would have destroyed any chance for peaceful interaction in the future.
Is that how I always act in dicey situations? No…but seeing the fruits a right choice…makes it easier to choose wisely in the future. Continually reading and studying the Bible…will help arm the Holy Spirit as He gently corrects me…and help grow me up.