Friday, January 4, 2008

Do Not Take Revenge


I know of a group of Christians who attend a weekly Bible class. Once, they were studying about ‘Love’. The study lasted for several weeks. They learned many Scriptures that taught them to love others and stop hating anyone. They discussed their personal problems with each other.

They also spent much time asking God to help them forgive those whom they hated and for the grace to forgive. After all that, many still said that they found it hard to forgive. Those who were deeply hurt even admitted, “I can’t forgive, neither can I forget!” This only reveals how difficult it is to get along with people who offend and hurt you.

But the Word of God is very clear about how you should react towards those who hurt you. The Bible teaches, “Do not take revenge on others or continue to hate them, but love your neighbors as you love yourself. I am the LORD”. Not loving but hating those who are against you and taking revenge on them is the norm of this world. But you who belong to the Lord, should be different in your behaviour towards others. Your actions and reactions are to be guided by the Word of God and not by your old nature. You need to be different! THE REASON – “FOR, I AM THE LORD”, says your God. Recently, a Christian magazine in India requested me to write an article on “the Christian response to the ‘evil and corruption’ of this world”. How can we respond righteously unless we are practicing Scriptural principles?

Another good reason why God asks you not to hate but to leave revenge to Him is because “Revenge belongs to Him!” He is the judge. He judges uprightly. When God punishes, His intention is to correct and not to destroy. If you are to keep hating and take your own revenge, you may punish them ‘less’ because you are weak. Or you may inflict ‘more’ because you are strong!

Dear believer, the worst thing about hating and seeking revenge is that they destroy you in mind, body and soul more than your offender! When you cannot forgive and forget, you lose your peace, sleep, appetite, health, if not definitely your SOUL! For Jesus has told us very sternly, “if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Mt 6.14.15).

Pray and practise with me: Dear Lord, help me to love others as myself and not to hate or take revenge but to leave it to You. Amen.

Others Better Than Myself


Think of it for a moment. Don’t you and I act out of selfish ambition most of the time? Aren’t we self-conceited?

We seldom have the humility to admit that others may be better than us or that we are not as good as they are! The root of most problems and troubles is here. Unfortunately, we Christians are no better than the others in this respect. We create more problems in the Church simply because of selfish ambition, conceitedness and lack of humility which make us think that we are right and others are not as smart as we are.

Dear believer, do you know that almost all of our problems in the home and in the church are caused by an inflated ego? Do you notice that you have no problem with those who are below you! Your problem is always with those who are above you and better than you! Have you recognised this? If not, take a little time and think about it. Your quibbles, whether at home or church or office, are with those above you and in authority! This is wrong!

It is God who places people in authority over you. He does it in His wisdom and knowledge. God commands you to respect and obey authority. God commands, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Ex 20.12). Under no circumstances should you dishonour your parents! Again God demands of you, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Tim 5.17).

This doesn’t mean that parents and elders are always right and they never make mistakes. The other day I told my daughter for some reason, “We parents give advice not because we are always right but because we have been wrong many times and learned from our mistakes!” Wise children can correct parents but with due respect. In the same way, church leaders have been wrong before and they still make mistakes. God, who has ordered us to honour them, also has given us specific instructions how to offer correction!

You must follow Christ and learn to be humble. You must learn to consider others better than yourself – not just in words but in your actions too. Because of your accomplishments and position, you often think that you are better than those who do not possess them! I thought that I was ‘better’ than my gardener! On second thought, there are many things he does that I cannot do and some things he definitely can do better! I am learning that I should consider him better than me at least as a gardener and respect him for it. The same truth applies to all! You need to reconsider your relationship with others, from home to church and office. You must learn the right perspectives from the Lord Jesus.

Pray and practise with me: Dear Lord, You were God-man. Yet You never ‘thought less’ of anyone, even a leper or harlot. Help me to begin to practice humility and consider all - at home, outside and in the church, better than myself. Teach me to treat all with respect and honour. Amen.

Prosper In All Things


For the past several years, I have been following the example of the great apostle Paul and praying for all of my dear readers even as he did!

My prayer for you this New Year is the same. I quote it here so that you may know what my prayer for you is and WHAT GOD'S WILL FOR YOU IS! I am breaking the prayer into item by item so that you will know what GOD EXPECTS FROM YOU.

"I ask God:

to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

I pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord

You may please him in every way:

You bear fruit in every good work,

You grow in the knowledge of God,

You be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that

You may have great endurance and patience,

You may joyfully give thanks to the Father,

who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."

Won't you too make it your daily prayer?

I also pray for you as John the apostle prayed, "The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

In order too prosper in all things, you work day and night! You need to work just as hard in order to prosper in your soul! So work on what God desires for you in your life as stated in Paul's prayer. A friend of mine called me up this New Year's day and said, "I have decided to read the Bible through this year, putting aside 20 minutes a day!"

Pray and practise with me: Dear Lord, help me to work on prospering my soul for I know You will prosper me in all things and in health. Amen.