Love The Enemy

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Image Courtesy Stuart Miles FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Matthew 5:43-45 (KJV) Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Romans 12:20-21 (ESV) …if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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(me)
We tend to think that the only way to defeat an enemy is to destroy him with the same type of evil strategy he would use against us.

But this is not God’s way.

While “doing good” in return for evil may not transform your current enemies into your best friends, it does demonstrate that, (through faith in Christ), the believer is learning to master the worldly urges within his/her own being.

And, perhaps, even long after you have passed from their life, the seed you initially planted will suddenly sprout…as someone else’s godly attitude provides necessary “water”.

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Rage Against…Everything…

 

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Proverbs 29:22 (ESV) A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.

Proverbs 15:18 (ESV) A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

Proverbs 19:19 (ESV) A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.

James 1:19-21 (ESV) Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.


My observations:

~Lack of emotional self-control can be a very damaging thing.

~Unrestrained anger especially is warned against in scripture.
~Continually simmering anger that is difficult to contain is not a much better option than the highly-explosive sort, since it always leaves one vulnerable to overreaction to that “last straw” incident that really wasn’t all that offensive when honesty is employed.

~Impulsive reactions to things that irritate or frustrate can have far-reaching, and long-term consequences. But according to scripture, there is little good that comes of them.

~Proverbs 19:19 even indicates that a person with an angry disposition is highly unlikely to learn if he is simply instructed with patience and quickly restored after having allowed their temper to take over.

~By contrast, God’s nature is revealed as:

Psalm 145:8 (ESV) The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He doesn’t pitch childish temper tantrums when we do things He doesn’t like.

~James instructed readers to strive to imitate these qualities instead of give in to our own rising tidal wave of rage.

•My conclusion: Some injustices should be met with anger. Evil should be stopped; and wrong should be corrected, if possible. But Christians are instructed to “be angry and sin not” (Ephesians 4:26). So it is important to be thinking clearly about why we are mad and how to respond in a way that honors God.

If I tend to have an unmanageable temper, it suggests that I either don’t know God at all or have not submitted to His earlier, more gentle forms of correction. A stubborn refusal to be turned is a very dangerous response, since it further hardens the heart and fools me into thinking I am in the right.

When All Else Fails….Shift the Blame?

 

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 When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the LORD.

Proverbs 19:3 (ESV)


I’m afraid I don’t know who to credit with regard to the “original” observation.  But scripture validates the sentiment.

Far too often, human beings invent our own version of truth, and then become angry at those who do not cooperate with our ill-conceived effort to make that particular dream a reality.

When things eventually fall apart, we can even choose to tell ourselves that God is somehow to blame for the outcome of our own wrong choices. 😦

 

And Then There Were None…

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Those who are in the habit of lying, complaining, or bragging should not be surprised to one day discover that their former audience is no longer listening.
~Me.
.
 
 Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.
The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
~Proverbs 16:22-23 (ESV)

When You Just Gotta Vent

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*Proverbs 29:11 (NKJV)*

A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.
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It seems this particular warning is always applicable to my own life.
I think it is interesting that the Hebrew word which is translated as “feelings” is ruwach, which can refer to one’s actual spirit, or to their emotional temperament/disposition
BLB lexicon offers both of the following entries (as well as a few others).
In
3.6 disposition (of various kinds), unaccountable or uncontrollable impulse
And
6.
1. as seat or organ of mental acts
2. rarely of the will
3. as seat especially of moral character
In context, I believe these two ideas are the most applicable to the Proverb because they refer to the core essence of who one really is.
In effect, if one is a fool, (s)he will impulsively give vent to ignorance, impatience, arrogance, anger etc when enough pressure is applied to just the right place in his/her life.
It will be a spontaneously childish reaction, rather than a carefully considered, wise response.
This is to be expected because this is who they really are inside.
Regardless, such behavior is neither attractive, nor productive.

Romans 5:7-11 (NKJV) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

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Image courtesy HUMAN COALITION.  I am borrowing it for non-profit, educational purposes 🙂

Engraved Invitation

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Luke 14:12-14 (NKJV) Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.
But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.
And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Mark 2:16-17 (NKJV) And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”
When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

John 6:35 (NKJV) And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

Revelation 3:20 (NKJV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voic and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. ~ Jesus

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Jesus IS the feast. He has been given freely to revive us poor, blind, deaf and lame beggars.

Those of us who have been given access to His table should remember how unworthy we are as we graciously invite others to join us.

We have no right to close them out or simply toss a few stale crumbs at them.