If others continuously hurt me, how should I respond?
Author: Durriya Alphonso 26 Jun 2022
Forgive our enemies.
Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. It’s not enough to forgive our enemies, but we should love them. A revolutionary teaching from our Lord Jesus Christ. So that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
Jesus is not talking about the extreme but asking us to imitate him. In Jesus’ life, he had many followers but very few close friends among his circle of disciples like Peter, John and James. Though He had some close friends, his other friends were not jealous of him and He did not show any partiality.
It’s not practical and not possible for all of us to love everyone equally, but ensure that we are at peace, in good relationship and in happiness with everyone.
Romans 12:17-18 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
This is the first time in the bible there is a commandment that says ‘if it is possible’ all other commandments are ‘do it’.
Why does the bible say ‘if it is possible’? Because our Heavenly Father, Jesus and St. Paul, they all know it’s not always possible? We should live at peace with one another and conduct our lives aiming for what is noble, honest and proper. Even though we cannot be responsible for others behaviors; as far as it depends on us we can live at peace with everyone. What if I want to love my enemy but my enemy does not want to love me? There will not be peace. We are not to repay for the evil done to us being careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. This does not mean that we should seek to please mankind; rather it means that we should live righteously according to God’s principals. We should be fair and honest in all of our dealings. For peace to prevail, an individual alone cannot bring peace, it takes two people to have peace within them.
From our side, we should ensure not to create confusions, conflicts, instigate others to have a fight with you, pass insulting comments or gossips. The word of God tells us to be at peace with others, this is what God wants. We must resist our natural human instinct for revenge and refuse to every pay back evil when evil is done to us.
If we look into the life of Jesus, we know that He had already prophesied about his death. The soldiers came to attack and arrest Jesus. When the time came and one of the soldiers took hold of Jesus’ hand, Peter was very furious – he took the sword and tried to attack the soldier.
Luke 22:50-51“Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. Jesus rebuked Peter. Jesus went to the wounded servant; picked up his ear which dropped to the ground and put it back on his head, touched his ear, healed and consoled him. Jesus, on his part tried to live peaceably with others, He healed and blessed him. Even in His arrest Christ was thinking of others.
Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Let us not take revenge, if we take revenge God will protect that person. God says, He will repay! The biggest punishment of God toward us, is that He will move away by withdrawing His protection. Every sin, has its consequences. We can entrust ourselves to God, just like Jesus did, and know that He will work even those evil acts committed against us for our good. Nothing makes us feel more shamed and embarrassed by our actions than someone reacting to our hurtful behavior with gentle forgiveness. It takes no power, might, or wisdom to retaliate against evildoers. But returning good for evil is one of the greatest demonstrations of strength.
Malachi 3:16-18 “Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name. They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act and I will spare them as parents spares their children who serve them. Then once more you shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him”.
Every good work we have done secretly, God takes notice, is aware and has written it down in the ‘Book of Remembrance’. The implication is that what is done on earth is forever recorded in heaven. Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. On the day, when I act, says the Lord, I will spare them as parents spare their children. Those who are committed, faithful and follow God without doubting Him will be spared because they are my special possession. Let us not be weary in well-doing, but faithfully continue to seek and serve the Lord God.
God promises to remember our faithfulness. Even though good people are often caught up in the consequences of other people’s sins, God does distinguish between those who follow Him and those who do not. God’s prediction includes both wrath for the wicked and protection for the righteous.
Why people say, they are tired of doing all that they do of this world? Tired of trying to love others even after all the abuses and insults hurled at us. We think that we our loving from the power that we have. We should remember, that love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness – is not a physical action but the good characters that we need to display comes from a person. What is the name of that person? ‘Jesus’. How should we be forgiving? Let us ask Jesus to come into our heart and help us to reflect His character and life within us. Forgiving others means letting go of resentment and giving up any claim, to be compensated for the hurt or loss we have suffered. Jesus famously told Peter in Matthew 18 to forgive someone “seventy times seven” times and He makes the sobering statement that if we do not forgive others, our Father in Heaven will not forgive us (Matthew 6:15).
James1:17 “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Everything that we have is a gift from God, undeserved. God is the giver of anything that is good. Why Mother Theresa was not tired of taking care of the poor? Single handedly she did great things in her life what countries could not do by taking care of ten thousand of orphans and children because she was just reflecting Jesus’ character in her life.
1 Peter 3:1 Wives, in the same way, accept the authority of your husbands, so that, eve, if some of them do not obey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives’ conduct.
Our beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of our inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.
Our character should be that of holiness, compassionate, loving, forgiving so that others can change. Women should set a good example, when husbands see that their wives are cooperative rather than rebellious, they will be more willing to listen to the gospel, and eventually follow their wives into the faith.
Our Lord demands and desires for us to reflect His name and nature. He is pleased and proud when we reflect His attributes to the world around us. While we will never be perfect on this earth, let us try to imitate Christ and we will automatically be able to forgive our enemies and live peaceably.
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