WHEN LOVING SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE
By Carolyn Dale Newell
Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.
1 Peter 3:9-10 NKJV
When someone has spoken unkindly to us or their actions toward us have been evil, we want to strike back. However, we are commanded to bless them instead. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” (Rom. 12:14). Jesus said, “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,” (Matt. 5:44).
From these verses, we learn to pray for our enemies. That does not mean we pray for God’s vengeance on them, as some do, but we should pray for their salvation. We also learn we should do good to them. That goes one step beyond praying because it brings us in contact with them.
The command to bless these Hard-to-love people is repetitive, but how do you really bless someone? We are called to inherit a blessing – an undeserved blessing. How can we not extend the blessing of forgiveness and unconditional love to others when God has done that for us? We should follow the example of Christ who did not revile when He was reviled (1 Pet. 2:23).
Many times, I have heard testimonies from families who want to tell the murderer of their son or daughter they forgive them. They want to share the gospel with this lost soul who has hurt them deeply. That is a perfect example of this command. Such forgiveness can only be accomplished through the love, power, and grace of the Holy Spirit. What a witness this is, not only to unbelievers, but also to Christians seeking to”love life and see good days”.
This is hard, and it is only going to come from You because it is not within us. Put a love in our hearts for those who are hard to love. Show us ways to do good to them. Help us bless and forgive them because You have forgiven us so much. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read 1 Peter 3:8-12.
HIKING THE TRAIL
Who is the unkind person or the persecutor in your life? Pray for them. What act of kindness can you show them this week?
Copyright 2015 Carolyn Dale Newell.