Tag: Bitterness

How To Overcome Evil with GOOD

How do you overcome evil with good. How can you show the love of Christ in a bad relationship? Have you ever been offended by somebody so much that you felt that the best option was to revenge? So therefore if somebody harms you, should you harm them back? If somebody insults you, should you retaliate by finding a way to insult them too?

Matthew 5:38-39 NKJV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also

Matthew 5:43-44 NKJV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

According to Jesus, if we are to overcome evil with good, there are 4 things we must do.
These 4 things that Jesus mentions in Matthew 5:43,44 are the following:

  1. We Must LOVE
  2. We Must BLESS
  3. We Must DO GOOD
  4. We Must PRAY

Jesus Himself extended this same love and grace to us through His death on the cross. Despite the fact that we were sinners, God demonstrated His love for us through the death of Christ for our sins (Romans 5:8).
Also as Christ was crucified on the cross He prayed for those who hated Him saying “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:24).

Therefore God is not only good to those who love Him but He is also good to those who despise Him. Matthew 5:45 says “… for He (God) makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”.

Therefore the goodness and love of God is extended to everyone.

Jesus basically taught us that no matter how badly other people may treat us, we MUST ALWAYS respond to them in LOVE and we must NEVER respond to anyone with bitterness, unforgiveness, revenge and hatred.
Jesus taught that if your neighbor hates you and if you want to defeat your neighbor – then you must LOVE him. If you hate your neighbor just because he hates you too – it would cause more hatred to fester – and NOTHING good comes out of hatred.
Hatred is an emotional characteristic of the devil, but LOVE is the character of God. So when you LOVE, you are imitating the very nature of God, but when you hate you are imitating the devil.

Matthew 5:46-48 NKJV
For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

When you become a child of God you are called to a Godly standard of living. You are called to imitate God’s nature through Christ and His teachings. You are called to live according to the principles of the Kingdom of God and NOT according to the standards of the world.
Jesus taught that there is a very CLEAR DIFFERENCE between the children of God and the world. Therefore as children of God in our relationships, we should aim in Christ to not react or respond by the values and principles of the world.

Romans 12:17-21 NKJV
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So the next time somebody offends you, don’t revenge; don’t hate, but respond the way Jesus has taught you – by showing LOVE.

 

Playing the Blame Game

Whenever you encounter a problem, a challenge or some sort of difficult circumstance in your life, who do you decide to blame? Do you at times blame the economy; the society; the politicians; a family member – or do you even blame God Himself for some of the problems in your life?
Sometimes in life we can blame everybody for our problems – but not blame ourselves. Sometimes it is important to take responsibility for our problems and take the right steps to resolve them head-on.

Genesis 3:11-13 NKJV
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Adam and Eve were given strict and clear instructions from God that they were not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil (Genesis 2:15-17).
However when God later discovered that Adam and Eve had disobeyed His instructions, Adam blamed Eve for his sin. Eve then blamed the serpent for her sin. So the question is – who was to blame? Who was responsible? Was it the serpent’s fault?

Read Genesis 3:14-24

When you read the above verses, you will discover that God held all 3 parties responsible and therefore God required all of them, that is Adam, Eve and the serpent to face the consequence of their sin.
God did not show favoritism to any of them because doing so would mean that He approved of their sinful actions.
The basic point is that whenever we sin, God does not want us to pass the blame to others, but He expects us to take & accept responsibility for our actions.
God does not expect us to hide from Him whenever we have done wrong or whenever we face a difficult problem.
In Genesis 3:8-10, after Adam and Eve sinned, they decided to hide from God’s presence because they thought they could hide their shame or their sin from God.
However the best way to deal with a problem or with your sin is not to blame other people for it – but rather it is best to bring all your issues to God so that God may help you to deal with it.

John 1:29 NKJV
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Psalms 46:1 NKJV
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Only God through His Son Jesus Christ can wipe away your own individual sins and also the sins of the world. Sin cannot be removed by blaming others for it, neither can you solve your own problems by blaming other people. However sin can be removed by confessing, repenting and allowing Jesus to cleanse us by His blood.
Also your individual problems can be resolved by bringing them to God so that He may help you to solve them.
To illustrate my point:- Just after Adam and Eve had sinned, they then realized their nakedness and so they decided to make for themselves coverings that were made out of leaves (Genesis 3:7). They made these coverings out of leaves by themselves (without God) in order to cover their bodies.
Later however, when God discovers their sin and the fact that they realized that they were naked, God Himself then makes tunics for Adam and Eve which were made of skin and God discards the leaf coverings that Adam & Eve had made by themselves.
This shows that even after sinning, Adam and Eve could not properly take care of themselves nor of their problems without the help of the LORD.
Adam and Eve’s attempt at fixing their sinful actions by themselves was a total failure. God’s intervention was necessary.

Conclusion
Whatever problem, burden, wrong-doing that you face in your life – don’t focus on shifting the blame – but rather focus on giving your issues to God and allow God to guide and help you to deal with them through His power and infinite wisdom.

1 John 1:9-10 NKJV
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

 

What Are You Meditating?

Do you know that if you want to know what a person’s character is like – you need listen closely to what they talk about. It’s not only what a person does, but it’s also what a person SAYS that reveals to you a person’s thoughts and nature. Whatever issues that are dominating in a person’s mind and heart will eventually come out when they speak and will therefore give you revelation of the person’s character.

Matthew 15:18-20 NKJV
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.

Jesus is saying when we fill our hearts with issues that are ungodly, for example: evil thoughts, blasphemies, gossiping, adulterous ideas and the like, we begin to speak words associated with such and then we become defiled and the defilement is reflected by the words we speak.
What are you filling your mind and heart with today? Are you thinking thoughts that glorify God; Are the issues in your heart about things that reflect a love for God and for your neighbor?

Philippians 4:8 NKJV
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.

If you are to speak life, encouragement, joy and the like, you need to first work on what you are filling your heart & mind with. You need to MEDIATE on good, Godly thoughts and issues. Then you will see the change even in how you speak and in the issues that you speak about.
If you used to enjoy gossiping, you will see a change; if you used to speak negatively about many things, you will see a change; all because you have changed what you choose to think about.

Pray For Your Enemies

Do you know of anyone who dislikes you? Are you being persecuted even though you have done nothing wrong? Are there people in your life who are just trying to do anything in their power to make sure that you don’t succeed? What are you doing about it?
Is it right to pray for the damnation of our (human) enemy? Should we pray AGAINST them or should we pray FOR them? What does Jesus say?

Matthew 5:43-48 NKJV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.‘ But I say to you, LOVE your enemies, BLESS those who curse you, DO GOOD to those who hate you, and PRAY for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, THAT YOU MAY BE SONS OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? THEREFORE YOU SHALL BE PERFECT, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT.

Jesus clearly says we should LOVE, BLESS, DO GOOD and PRAY for our enemies or persecutors.
But why would Jesus command such a thing? It’s not an easy thing to love and do good to those who persecute us. But remember that the Lord knows everything and that He is wise.

WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

  1. Jesus wants you as a Christian to be different from the world. The world teaches that you must “love your neighbor and hate your enemy”. GOD teaches that you must not only love your neighbor – but you must ALSO love your enemy – because to do so shows that you are “sons of your Father in Heaven”
  2. Jesus Christ the begotten Son of God came to earth to save and die for the sins of ALL people INCLUDING those people who shouted “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” just before He was nailed to the cross (Luke 23:20-22). Jesus was being persecuted yet He was innocent. Out of LOVE, Jesus died for US ALL WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS (Romans 5:8 NKJV). Therefore, though we deserved damnation to hell, God by His love, mercy and grace sent His Son to die for us so that we may have eternal life. Shouldn’t we show the same love to those who are lost?
  3. While Jesus was hanging on the cross for our sins; experiencing the most excruciating pain known to man He cried “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do…” Luke 23:34 NKJV. Jesus was the perfect example of a man who whilst experiencing great pain and persecution which had been caused by others, could still PRAY to the Father and ask the Father to forgive the very people who were crucifying Him on the cross.
  4. When you LOVE, BLESS, DO GOOD and PRAY for your enemies it shows that you have FORGIVENESS in your heart. It means that you are not ruled by a spirit of bitterness and hatred. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
  5. As a Christian you are supposed to BE LIKE Jesus. You must be a VESSEL TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE LOST – EVEN YOUR ENEMIES. In Luke 9:53-56 we learn that the Samaritans at a village would not receive Jesus and so James & John asked Jesus if they should “command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did”. Jesus had to rebuke them for wanting such a thing to happen to other people and so Jesus responded by saying “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”

JESUS DOES NOT DESIRE THAT YOU PRAY THAT MEN’S LIVES BE DESTROYED. JESUS DESIRES THAT YOU PRAY THAT MEN’S LIVES BE SAVED – INCLUDING YOUR ENEMIES.

• There was a man named Saul in the book of Acts 9:1-19. He used to persecute and kill Christians. One day as Saul came near Damascus, Jesus appeared to Saul and said “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul had no idea that when he persecuted Christians, he was also persecuting Jesus. Nevertheless Jesus didn’t want to destroy Saul even though Saul had persecuted so many Christians. Jesus wanted to save Saul and to use Saul for God’s glory. So Saul was blinded when Jesus appeared to him and he couldn’t see for several days. Jesus appeared to a man called Ananias to go and find Saul so that he may pray for Saul. Now Saul of course was already well known for his persecutions against Christians and Ananias didn’t understand why the Lord Jesus was asking him to go and pray for Saul, an enemy of Christians. The Lord then told Ananias the plans that He had for Saul and of course Ananias obeyed and Saul got his sight back.
Saul later got his name changed to Paul. This is the same Paul (Saul) who wrote most of the New Testament in the Bible through the inspiration of God.
What’s my point? Like Ananias we need to obey the Lord Jesus and pray for our enemies, for Jesus may have a plan for them. We are NOT called to pray for the DESTRUCTION of people, but we are called to PRAY FOR their SALVATION. It is an act of LOVE.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Jesus praying to the Father: “Forgive them…” whilst hanging on the cross wasn’t easy. I’m not saying be naïve and let people take advantage of you. I’m simply saying obey Jesus, be more like Jesus and let the Spirit of God teach you to love and do good in every situation.

Romans 12:14-21 NKJV
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”* says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”* Do not be overcome by evil, but OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.