WE SERVE AN ENEMY LOVER
LIFE Devotions–May 30 2016
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave
room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. 20 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.’ 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
–Romans 12:19-21 [NIV]
As Christians, we are followers and ambassadors of an enemy lover. After Adam and Eve’s rebellion, all humanity became God’s enemy. But God did not withdraw. On the contrary, He came down to rescue each and every one of His defectors. While we were still His enemies, Christ died for us, paying the ultimate sacrifice to win us back. This kindness has made its way to the hearts of many who have melted with God’s love and become faithful lovers of Jesus. If you are a Christian, you are following a Savior who died for his enemies. If you are not a Christian, you are being sought after a Savior who died for His enemies. Christ suffered so He could ransom His rivals and make foes His friends. Every Christian who has and will ever live is proof that Christ overcame evil with good. We are the reward of His suffering, the living evidence that His love won over hatred.
We are commanded as Christians to do as God did, to not take revenge on our enemies, but to behave towards them in such a way that their souls can be won by God’s kindness. If our enemies are in need, we must accept God’s command to meet those needs. Every opportunity we have to get even and retaliate must be turned around as an opportunity to get close and liberate. We can’t let our enemy’s hostility produce hostility in us. We can’t let their evil make us evil. When we feel or do evil things and then blame it on someone else’s evil, we have been overcome by evil. But we are called to conquer evil with good and cruelty with love.
Understand though that not all of Jesus’ enemies responded positively to His love for them. One thief on the cross converted, the other one cursed. Peter wept for his betrayal, Judas hanged himself. The Roman centurion said, “This was indeed the Son of God,” the Pharisees said “He who saved others cannot save Himself.” The love of Christ does not result in repentance in all His enemies, and our love won’t either. This means that overcoming evil with good is to either win through the repentance of our enemies, or the justice of God over our enemies. The goal will always be to bless in order to rescue but redemption is not guaranteed. God’s kindness is intended to turn people from sin, but not all will turn. Some will receive God’s mercy others will reject it over and over again, storing up judgment for themselves. If they resist our love, if they refuse our affection, they will heap more and more burning coals over their heads. The increasing heat of conviction may result in glorious transformation, but it can also work towards a heavier weight of punishment hanging over their heads. He who receives grace and rejects it has greater evidence of God’s love and therefore greater responsibility to God in the day of judgment.
Keep loving your enemies, keep blessing those who curse you. Don’t return evil for evil, do not avenge yourself. You will always be a conqueror and a victor if you do this regardless of how your enemies respond. Evil will be vanished either way, through their redemption or the just retribution for their sins.
– When you forgive your enemies your heart heals. When you serve your enemies, their hearts can begin to heal. Think of a practical way you can bless someone who has hurt you. Be motivated by Christ’s example and the possibility of your enemy’s restoration. Pray to God for direction and follow through.