Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
How easy it is to want to take the wrong that was done to us and turn it back on the one who wronged us! But God tells us to go the extra mile instead. To show mercy and love to our enemies. And by doing things God’s way, we make room for His purpose and His justice to prevail.
It is our human nature to want revenge and to hate our enemies. But it is our divine nature to surrender our pretensions to compassion, mercy and love. Jesus set the perfect example for us of surrendering our rights to respond with vengeance –“He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly” (I Peter 2:23). Jesus endured intense suffering – even unto death – to save us for His Father’s glory.
Dietrich Bonhoffer encourages us to give up our right to be right. In looking for revenge, we are most often just looking for a wronged to be made right. But righting a wrong is often just an entitlement of what we feel our rights are. When we are looking to satisfy our rights instead of looking to the One who is right and true, we are negatively contributing to the wrong that was done. Instead, “I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves” (Matthew 5:44 MSG).
- Is there someone you are harboring revenge in your heart against?
- Pray them right now
- Ask God to help you reconcile your hatred for them with His love.
Spend time in God’s presence right now. Let his mercy and grace wash over and go and do likewise
A simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ will suffice. Anything beyond this springs from a deceiver.
Psalm 24:4- 5 reads like this “Those who are clean—whose works and ways are pure, whose hearts are true and sealed by the truth, those who never deceive, whose words are sure. They will receive Yahweh’s blessing and righteousness given by the Savior-God.”
Integrity and honesty are valuable characteristics from God. Not only will God bless us when we are honest, but we will also be able to bless others because they know we can be trusted with our words, our actions, and our deeds.
There are many ways the deceiver can dishonor our integrity.
Some of us have a reputation for exaggeration or lying. Others may tell half-truths or omit information from the truth to get a better outcome. And every time our interactions are not completely honest with others, we lose our credibility and our witness for the Lord. We may have to say an “I promise” or some kind of oath to add value to our commitment, but if our motives are pure and sealed by truth, our “yes” will never be doubted and our “no” will always be regarded.
- Take some time today to reflect on what it means to let your conversations always be ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
- Ask God to reveal to you ways that you may not be completely honest when you speak or act.
- Ask him to search and cleanse your heart of impurities so that your words might be wise and useful to Him.
Give yourself permission to spend as much time as you need with your loving Creator. Have an honest conversation with God right now.
A person without self-control is like a city with broken down walls
Paul encourages us I Corinthians 10:13 by reminding us that everyone has wrong desires and temptations happen to everyone. But he also tells us that God has provided a way for us to be strong and self-controlled against them. That way is God’s way! Recognition of the motives of our hearts and where those motives come from helps us to be able to pray for strength and repent of those desires and possible actions that have come from them. “Run as fast as you can from the ambitions and lusts of youth; and chase after all that is pure. Whatever builds up your faith and deepens your love must become your holy pursuit” (2 Timothy 2:22).
REFLECT AND JOURNAL
- Do any of the struggles that Jesus mentions in Matthew 5:21-30 resonate with you?
- What in your environment at home or work could you change to shift your thoughts?
- Ask Jesus to reshape your heart surrounding these issues to embrace Him instead.
This is a safe space to have an honest conversation with God. Right now, invite God into this time of prayer. Ask Him to silence any distractions.
Take a moment to process what stood out to you and feel free to stay in this space for as long as you need.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them
Many people think the law of the Lord means the ten commandments, but the law is the entire book of Scripture including the ten commandments.
These laws were given to help people love God with all their hearts and minds, and to love others as God loves them. Jesus came to fulfill these laws by teaching us that we don’t need rules and regulations to keep these laws – all we need is Him! When we seek His Kingdom first, we too, can fulfill our purpose of sharing His light and bearing His fruit. And when we are fulfilling His purpose, our lives are filled with blessings that can only come from God.
These blessings aren’t free though; it’s hard work to stand against our human nature and stand up for Christ. But “rejoice, and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:12).
- As you spend time with God today, ask Him to show you what “rules” you have created keeping you from fully loving others?
- Are they cultural rules?
- Judgmental rules?
- Resentful rules?
- Ask Him to help you let go of those rules so your light can shine for Jesus and bring Him glory.