Loving When Others Mistreat You
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45)
I was thinking this morning about the role Judas played in the life of Christ during the three years of His ministry. Although Jesus knew right from the beginning that Judas would betray Him, He knew that Judas played a vital role at the end of His life. What would the outcome have been if Jesus had gotten rid of Judas because he wasn’t the type of person that was good for Him. Yet, Jesus didn’t get rid of Judas, but chose to treat him the same as the other disciples instead of treating Him with contempt. He chose to speak kindly to Him instead of criticizing Him. He chose to teach Him instead of cutting Him down and reminding Him of how much of a thief He still was (As we see in John 12:6 where it states Judas took money from the money box). He gave Judas every chance just as He did with the other disciples. He treated Judas no differently. Can we say we do the same thing? Have you ever had someone working against you or mistreating you? What did you do? Did you cut them off from the beginning or were you patient, praying for them, love them and blessing them as the scripture says to do? Did you allow God’s hand to work in the situation or did you use your own hand to try and fix the situation?
In Daniel chapter 6 we see where Daniel was in a high position within the kingdom of king Darius. Daniel was one of three governors. Because of Daniel’s excellent spirit, and the fact that the king had thought about setting him over the whole realm, this caused his peers and those under him to be jealous. They tried to find something to trip Daniel up and charge against him but they could find no charge or fault because he was faithful. So they went further and made a plan to trip him up concerning the law of his God. They deceived the king, who liked Daniel, into making a decree that anyone who petitions any god or man within 30 days other than king, would be thrown into to the lion’s den. Their deceptive plan was two fold…deceiving the king into thinking he was something special by having people petition him only and getting rid of Daniel. The king signed off on it. Long story short, they found Daniel praying three times a day in his room, told the king and off to the lions den Daniel went. This greatly upset the king causing him to have a sleepless night and begin fasting. In the end, God saved Daniel by closing the mouths of the lions and the king had all the men who accused Daniel, and their families, thrown into the lion’s den and they were torn apart. This whole situation brought glory to God.
Daniel didn’t stop doing his job because of his accusers and their jealous ways. He didn’t criticize them, berate them and turn against them. He didn’t seek vengeance on them and look for ways to trip them up. The Word of God states he had an excellent spirit within himself. The Word of God also shows Daniel did not stop worshiping God because of a law or because others were coming after him. Although it doesn’t say it, we can only assume he prayed about the situation. He went directly to the one who could fix things. Although God allowed Daniel to enter into the lion’s den instead of having him avoid it, the outcome was a stronger faith in God for Daniel, more glory given to God and a decree by the king declaring that all people in the kingdom must tremble and fear (in reverence) before God.
The one thing you have to realize is that there will always be people who will persecute you, hate you and try to destroy you. There will always be someone who will do everything in their power to try and trip you up. The objective is to not allow these situations to cause you to react in the same manner. Praying, blessing and loving others not only helps them but strengthens you. God will use these situations to mold you and shape you to be like Him. He’s not calling you to be a doormat as so many people seem to think will happen. It’s to help you not to sin and to cause a change either in them, you, or those around you. Jesus nor Daniel were doormats. They stayed the course and completed their missions because they refused to allow the the words and actions of others to stop what God had called them to do and to tarnish their character. They continued working and living along side these people on a daily basis but did not allow them to ruin who they were and what they were called to do. That right there is true strength because it’s easy to remove everyone from our lives who do not love us or agree with us, but it’s a much stronger person who can work and live beside them and love them while still retaining their excellent spirit. This doesn’t mean you must hang with those negative, hateful people but sometimes you may be called to work with them or may even be related to them. Your words and your actions could make a huge change in them. If not, then God will remove them as he eventually did in Daniel’s case. Daniel knew those he worked with were up to something but he chose to continue doing his work and to make sure his walk remained excellent. Our focus must be on the work God has called us to do and our own walk. Our focus must be on our recovery and allow nothing to hinder our walk of healing.
Don’t be discouraged by those who try to damage you by their words or actions. They may be playing a vital role in God’s plans. They may be there to help you to grow. They may be there to learn from you. Whatever the case, continue moving forward. God will take care of the situation. If he can close the mouths of the lions, he can close the mouths of people. Just as God can place people in our lives for a time, He can remove them also. Although there may be times you may have to say something or take action according to how God leads, there may be many more times you may just have to continue loving, praying and blessing them so the fixed situation in the end can bring glory to God.
“Lord, strengthen my walk so I am able to continue moving, praying, loving and blessing those who want to see me fall. Protect my heart from being damaged by the situation so I may be a walking testimony of your love and mercy. Help me to know when to speak and when to just allow you to do Your work so You can receive the glory. I ask this in Jesus name…Amen.”