Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21 (NIV)
How have you responded to your enemies? What have you done for those who have done evil against you? Well, I have often brainstormed how I might get even with them. I have considered how I might repay them for every evil that they have done against me. Have you spent a lot of time thinking these kinds of thoughts? I am embarrassed to admit how much time I have wasted imagining what do to those who have hurt me. Have you found thoughts of payback and revenge to be helpful and healthy? Thinking thoughts of payback and revenge have been nothing more than a large waste of time. Why is that? I can’t think of one time that I actually paid someone back or took revenge against them. You just day dreamed about payback and taking revenge against evil that was done against you? That’s right. That is a big waste of time.
I want you to take a far different approach to those who have done evil against you. What’s that? You are going to like this, I think. I can’t imagine that. You like to brainstorm. You like to day dream. You like to think through scenarios. You like to think about future possibilities of your actions. Yes, I do like to do all those things. Well, I want you to do all those things toward an enemy that has done something to hurt you. I’m already doing that. Yes, I know. But, you are doing all those things with an evil intent of paying them back and seeking revenge. That’s true. I want you to do just the opposite. Like what?
Imagine that one of your strongest enemies became your best friend. That’s hard to imagine. Stay with me. How would you try to turn one of your strongest enemies into one of your best friends? I would begin to brainstorm how I could do good things for them. Then I would look for any and every opportunity to follow through and actually do good things for them. That’s good. What else? I would pray for them continually. That’s also very good. Why would you be willing to do good things toward your enemy? Why would you be willing to continually pray for them? I would do good things for my enemy and pray for them because that is what you are asking of me. That’s right. If you do what I am asking of you, then you may not only have an enemy as a best friend but you might have them as a brother of sister. Wouldn’t it be amazing if your enemy joined you in heaven because of the way that you allowed me to work in and through your life? That would be amazing. Start doing good things for your enemy as you pray for them. Yes, Lord, I will.
Lord, I have sought revenge. I have wanted to pay back others for evil done against me. Forgive me. I will make every effort to overcome evil by doing good. I will seek to turn enemies into friends by doing good things for them. Use me as your witness. Amen
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