Making the Choice to Respond Like Christ

Overcoming EvilI think it would be awesome if people who made a decision to reject Christ would change their minds after interacting with a believer. I mean we know how to treat one another – even though we don’t always do well in that — but how do we treat those who are not a part of the Body of Christ. Enemies can come from without and from within – do we treat our Christian brothers and sisters with more deference and grace than we do the lost?

Consider this – what do you do when you find a person has been slandering you? What is your reaction when you find that someone has ‘stolen’ an opportunity from you? What is your response when you feel you have been shunned by someone? What about when someone messes with your money? your children? your spouse? Detractors can come from within the Body of Christ and from outside of the Body of Christ; do you react to people the same regardless?

For most of my life I have treated antagonists the same, whether within the household of faith or outside of it — I Treated Them Badly! For a long time I stood on my right to be right and my freedom to not be walked over. Truly, I was not a good friend and I didn’t have many good friends. And then I begin to study God’s Word about what was expected of me as relates to people relations and I found that I was to do good to ALL people, but especially those in the household of faith. That blew my mind! To know that I needed to treat Christian brothers and sisters well was fine — but that I was supposed to treat ALL people well was eye opening. When I asked God why – His response was “so that they might know Me”. There it is — it wasn’t about me after all!

As I continued to talk to the Lord about my own life and behavior I learned that my life should be attractive to those outside of the household of faith. Meaning that people who are not Christ followers should be awed by the way I treat my Christian brothers and sisters even when I have been wronged and further, those who are not believers should be attracted to me because of the grace and kindness that they receive in response to a wrong action done to me. Those who know me well know that I made an about-face; and my life has never been richer, fuller or freer! Praise God!

We have a duty to live in love among one another AND out there in the cold, cruel world. We are not expected by our King to return a wrong done with a wrong done. The world is showing its ugliness today; the world is showing hatred borne out of ignorance today; the world is showing disdain for us — but what should our return action be? It has been said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” MLK Jr. It is not easy to do – but the Holy Spirit is in us to help us to act as our King wishes and when we act as our King wishes – we will walk in His favor and not in judgment. Tit for tat might feel good for a moment, but there is no long term satisfaction in anything other than love.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭21‬)

Strong Love!

I’m pictured here with the dearest friend I ever had – the late, Barbara Jean Brown-Lewis.  it seemed that there were always words enough to express what we felt, tears enough to weep together and joy enough to share.  But I find that this is not always the case.

Recently I tried to apologize to a friend after being made aware that they were hurt – not by something that I did, but because of things that failed to do that could have prevented their hurt. My friend responded to me that I was mean, selfish and not Christ-like and that I needed to love people better.

I could hear the voice of my mentor telling me to be mindful, don’t waver in my faith, be brave, don’t wither. I could hear her telling me to continue to minister out of that pure love that is born out of my devotion to Christ.

I Corinthians is the authority on all things “LOVE” — and in chapter 16 you’ll find these words: “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, e strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

When we attempt to minister out of a heart of pure and sincere love, the world sees it and hates it! People will never believe that you do what you do because the love of Christ compels you — so they will accuse you of false motives or worse – they will accuse you of trying to ‘look’ spiritual! That is the ENEMY — it is one of his best tricks. We are so often deceived and discouraged by these reactions that we back peddle away from love and move to a stance of obligation. We must be aware of this device of the enemy, so that we will not begin to question our motives or believe the lies that people tell us about ourselves. Remember always your love for Christ and your devotion to Him which rises out of His passion for you.

I pray that the Father will help you to be filled afresh daily with His own Spirit so that you will not only operate in His power but in His love. I pray that He will strengthen your heart and steel your mind so that you will not be persuaded that your intentions are – or should be – anything other than reflections of His love in the world. I pray that He will become love in you!