How we treat other people can have a great impact on the degree of blessings and favor of God we are experiencing in our lives. Are you good to people? Are you kind and considerate? Do you speak and act with love in your heart and regard other people as valuable and special? Friend, you can`t treat people poorly and expect to be blessed. You can`t be rude and inconsiderate and expect to live in victory.
The Bible says, €œSee that none of you repays another evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody. Notice the words aim and seek in this verse. God is saying we must be proactive. We should be on the lookout to share His mercy, kindness, and goodness with people. We must aim for kindness and seek to do good. Moreover, we need to be kind to people even when they don`t deserve it. We need to walk in love and be courteous even when somebody is unkind to us.
When that coworker walks by you and doesn`t give you the time of day, God expects you to go the extra mile and be friendly to him anyway. If you are on the phone and somebody speaks harshly or is discourteous to you, it`s easy to think, I`ll just tell her off and then hang up. She doesn`t know me. She`s never going to see me. But God expects us to be bigger and better than that.
When that checker at the grocery store jumps down your throat for no reason, your initial response may be to act rudely in return. That`s the easy way; anybody can do that. But God wants us to live by higher standards. The Bible says, €œWe are to love our enemies. We are to do good to them that spitefully use us. Daddy often said, €œEverybody deserves to have a bad day once in a while. We`ve got to give people room to have a bad day
If somebody flies off the handle at you, instead of retaliating and giving them a piece of your mind, why not show them some of God`s grace and mercy? Aim for kindness and give them a word of encouragement. After all, you don`t know what they may he going through. That person`s child may be in the hospital. His or her mate may have just walked out; they may be living in hell on earth. If you return their venom with more vitriol, you could escalate the conflict, or your response could be the final straw that causes them to give up and sink into utter despair. Neither scenario is pleasing to God.
When you are placed in awkward situations where somebody doesn`t treat you right, you have a golden opportunity to help heal a wounded heart. Keep in mind, hurting people often hurt other people as a result of their own pain. If somebody is rude and inconsiderate, you can almost be certain that they have some unresolved issues inside. They have some major problems, anger, resentment, or some heartache they are trying to cope with or overcome. The last thing they need is for you to make matters worse by responding angrily
Evil is never overcome by more evil. If you mistreat people who are mistreating you, you will make matters worse. When you express anger to somebody who has been angry with you, it`s like adding fuel to a fire. No, we overcome evil with good. When somebody hurts you, the only way you can overcome it is by showing them mercy, forgiving them, and doing what is right.
Keep taking the high road and be kind and courteous. Keep walking in love and have a good attitude. God sees what you`re doing. He sees you going the extra mile to do what`s right, and He will make sure your good actions and attitude will overcome that evil. If you`ll keep doing the right thing, you will come out far ahead of where you would have been had you fought fire with fire.
The Bible says, €œGod is our vindicator. He will not let you lose out. You may think you`re getting the short end of the stick, but when it`s all said and done, God will make sure that you don`t lose anything truly valuable. Moreover, He`ll make sure you get your just reward. Your responsibility is to remain calm and peaceable even when those around you are not.
Overcome Evil with Good
I called a restaurant one night to order a pizza. I often ordered pizzas from this particular establishment, and each time I placed an order, the clerk asked for my phone number. I got in the habit of giving them my phone number right up front so we could save a bit of time.
On this night, a woman answered the phone. I politely said, €œHello, my phone number is 713 . .
€œSir, I am not ready for your phone number, the woman snarled into the phone. €œAnd when I get ready for your phone number, I will ask you for your phone number!
I could hardly believe that someone working with the public could be so cantankerous and rude. My initial instinct was to respond, €œListen, lady! I`ll give you my phone number whenever I feel like it. I`ll call you at midnight with my phone number if I want to! My mind instantly considered ordering about twenty or thirty pizzas and sending them to the wrong addresses. In my imagination, I could see that lady running all over town attempting to deliver pizzas to people who hadn`t ordered them!
Fortunately, I was able to maintain my composure. 1 kept telling myself, You are the pastor of a church. Behave!
I don`t always do what`s right, but in this case, I made a decision that I was going to overcome evil with good. I recognized that the woman was just having a bad day; something was bothering her that had nothing to do with me or my phone number. I decided I was going to be a part of the solution rather than part of the problem. I took her on as a personal mission project, determined that I would do whatever I could to cheer her up.
I began by complimenting her work. (I had to really use my imagination!) I said, €œYou make the best pizzas in the world. I`ve been ordering from you folks for years, and your food is wonderful. Your delivery is great; you are always on time; you`re running a first-class operation. On and on I went, trying to encourage her. I said, €œI appreciate your being so efficient and answering the phone so quickly. And I`ll tell you, when I talk to your boss, I`m going to recommend that he give you a raise. By the time I got through, she not only took my phone number, she threw in some hot wings and sodas and coupons for more pizza!
That`s overcoming evil with good. I didn`t know what she was dealing with at work or what she was going through at home. Who knows what was going on in her personal life? But it wasn`t hard to figure out that she was having a bad day. She needed somebody to encourage her, to cheer her up, to let her know that she mattered, and to tell her she was good at her job. That pizza order was a small matter, but it was a giant opportunity for me to share God`s kindness with a woman who needed it.
The Bible says, €œLove overlooks a person`s faults. That`s not always easy but love believes the best in every person. Anybody can return evil for evil, but God wants His people to help heal wounded hearts.
If somebody is not treating you right today go out of your way to be kinder than usual to that person. If your husband is not serving God, don`t go around beating him over the head with your Bible, preaching at him, nagging him, coercing him to come to church with you. No, just start being extra kind to him. Start loving him in a fresh way. The Bible says, €œIt is the goodness of God that leads people to repentance. If you will be extra good and inordinately kind, before long God`s goodness expressed through you will overcome that evil. Friend, love never fails.
If anybody had a right to return evil instead of love, it was Joseph, the famed young man with the coat of many colors. His brothers hated him so much they threw him into a deep pit and were going to kill him, but €œout of the kindness of their hearts they decided instead to sell him into slavery. Years went by; and Joseph experienced all Sorts of troubles and heartaches. But Joseph kept a good attitude, and God continued to bless him. After thirteen years of being in prison for a crime he didn`t even commit, God supernaturally promoted him to the second highest position in Egypt.
Joseph was in charge of the food supply when a famine struck the land, and his brothers traveled to Egypt, hoping to buy provisions for their families. At first they didn`t recognize Joseph. Joseph finally said, €œDon`t you know who I am? I am Joseph, your brother. I`m the one you threw into the pit. I`m the one you tried to kill, the brother you sold into slavery.
Can you imagine what was going through his brothers` minds? Imagine the fear that must have gripped their hearts! This was Joseph`s opportunity to pay back his brothers for the years of pain and suffering they had caused him. Now their lives were in his hands.
Joseph could have ordered them killed or imprisoned for life. But Joseph said, €œDon`t be afraid. I`m not going to harm you. I`m going to do good to you. I`m going to give you all the food you need.
Is it any wonder why Joseph was so blessed? No wonder God`s hand of favor was on him in such a strong way. Joseph knew how to extend mercy Joseph knew how to treat people right.
The Bible says, €œLove doesn`t hold a grudge. Love doesn`t harbor unforgiveness. You may have people in your life who have done you great wrong, and you have a right to be angry and bitter. You may feel as though your whole life has been stolen away by somebody who has mistreated you or deceived you. But if you will choose to let go of your grudge and forgive them, you can overcome that evil with good. You can get to the point where you can look at the people who have hurt you and return good for evil. If you do that, God will pour out His favor in your life in a fresh way He will honor you; He will reward you, and He`ll make those wrongs right.
When you can bless your worst enemies and do good to those who have used or abused you, that`s when God will take that evil and turn it around for good. No matter what you`ve gone through, no matter who hurt you or whose fault it was, let it go. Don`t try to get even. Don`t hold a grudge. Don`t try to pay them back. God says show mercy. Aim for kindness. Seek to do good.
You may be thinking, But Joel, that`s just not fair!
No, it`s not. But life is not fair. We have to remember that God is the one keeping the score. He is in control. And when you bless your enemies, you will never lose. God will always make it up to you.
Go the Extra Mile
God told Abraham to pack up his family and head toward a better land. Abraham moved all his flocks, his herds, his family and even his extended family members. They traveled for months and finally made it to their new land. After living there for a while, they discovered that the portion of land where they settled wasn`t able to support them with enough food and water for all the people and their flocks and herds.
Abraham said to his nephew Lot, €œWe need to split up. He said. €œYou choose whichever part of the land you would like to have, and I`ll take whatever is left. Notice how kind Abraham was to his nephew Lot looked around and saw a beautiful valley with luscious green pastures and rolling hills and ponds. He said, €œAbraham, that`s what I want. That`s where my part of the family will settle.
Abraham said, €œFine; go and be blessed. Abraham could have said, €œLot, you`re not going to have that land. That`s the best land. I`ve done all the work. I`ve led this journey God spoke to me, not to you. I should get the first choice. Abraham didn`t do that. He was bigger than that. He knew God would make it up to him.
But I`m sure after Abraham realized what was left over for him, he was disappointed nonetheless. His portion was arid, barren, desolate wasteland. Think of it; Abraham had traveled a long distance. He`d gone to great effort in search of a better land, in search of a better life. Now, because of his generosity and kind heart, he was relegated to living on the scruffy part of the land. I`m sure he thought, God, why do people always take advantage of my goodness? God, why do I always get the short end of the stick? That boy Lot wouldn`t have had anything if I hadn`t given it to him.
Maybe you feel that you`re the one who`s doing all the giving in some situation. Perhaps you are the parent of an ungrateful child. Maybe your former spouse is taking advantage of you in a divorce settlement. Possibly your company is talking about €œdownsizing after you have given them the best years of your life. Perhaps you are the one who`s always going the extra mile. You`re the peacemaker in the family. Because people know you are kind, generous, and friendly, they tend to take advantage of you or not appreciate you.
But God sees your integrity. Nothing that you do goes unnoticed by God. He`s keeping the records, and He will reward you in due time. That`s what He did for Abraham.
In essence, God told Abraham, €œBecause you preferred your brothers, because you treated your relative kindly, because you went the extra mile to do what is right, I`m not going to give you a small portion of land; I`m going to give you an abundant blessing. I`m going to give you thousands and thousands of acres; miles and miles of land. All that you can see is going to be yours.
Don`t grow weary in well doing. God is a just God, and He sees not just what you are doing but why you are doing it. God judges our motives as well as our actions. And because of your unselfishness, because you prefer others, because you`re aiming for kindness, one day God will say to you as He did to Abraham, €œAs far as you can see, I`m going to give it to you.
Sometimes when we`re good to people and we go the extra mile, we have a tendency to think, I`m letting people walk all over me. I`m letting them take advantage of me. They`re taking what rightfully belongs to me.
That`s when you have to say €œNobody is taking anything from me. I am freely giving it to them. I`m blessing them on purpose, knowing that God is going to make it up to me.
Think of the biblical story of Ruth. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, was an older woman who had just lost her husband. Ruth and another daughter-in-law named Orpha lived with Naomi because their husbands had also died. When Naomi lost her husband, she told those young women, €œI`m going to move back to my homeland. Why don`t you do the same thing and just get on with your lives? Orpha took Naomi`s advice and went her own way. But Ruth wouldn`t do that.
She said, €œNaomi, I`m not going to leave you all alone. You need somebody to take care of you. I`m going to watch after you. I`m going to stay close to you.
When Naomi and Ruth moved to Naomi`s homeland, they had no provision there. They had no money and nothing to eat. So each day Ruth went into the wheat fields and followed behind the reapers who were harvesting the crop. She picked up any leftover wheat and grain that fell on the ground. She was finding just a little here, a bit there. Then at night, Ruth and Naomi would make a meal from the gleanings of wheat. It wasn`t much, but the women were able to survive.
God saw Ruth out there working hard in the fields trying to take care of Naomi. God knew that Ruth could have taken care of herself, selfishly living her own life. God knew she had nothing to gain by being concerned about the older woman. And because of her acts of kindness and her good-heartedness, God instructed a man by the name of Boaz, the owner of all those fields, to help her. He said, €œBoaz, tell your workers to leave handfuls of wheat and handfuls of grain behind for Ruth. Now, when Ruth went out to the fields, she gathered up more than she could handle. She was blessed in abundance.
God sees your acts of kindness and mercy as well. When you are kind to people, when you go around doing good to people, God arranges for others to leave behind €œhandfuls of good things for you. You will find a handful of blessings over here, a handful of blessings over there, supernatural favors over here, an unexpected promotion over there. Everywhere you go, you will discover the supernatural blessings of God lying in your path, left there for you by God.