A young brother, who is serious about his Christian walk, requested prayer the other night for help in dealing with a difficult co-worker. This young brother works in an openly Christian work environment but this particular co-worker is not a believer and is more or less openly hostile to those around him. Management is aware of the occasional darts – “….I know you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer….”, etc. – this pagan throws but is holding out hope that the infidel might be won over by the other-worldy attitudes, responses and behavior of the pool of believers he finds himself swimming along side.
David & Saul
1 Samuel 18:
10 The next day the Lord let an evil spirit take control of Saul, and he began acting like a crazy man inside his house. David came to play the harp for Saul as usual, but this time Saul had a spear in his hand. 11 Saul thought, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” He threw the spear at David twice, but David dodged and got away both times.(CEV)
My initial(natural man) response is similar to that of James and John:
James, John & the Samaritans
51 Not long before it was time for Jesus to be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind to go to Jerusalem. 52 He sent some messengers on ahead to a Samaritan village to get things ready for him. 53 But he was on his way to Jerusalem, so the people there refused to welcome him. 54 When the disciples James and John saw what was happening, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy these people?”55 But Jesus turned and corrected them for what they had said.56 Then they all went on to another village.(CEV)
but apparently that’s not the way Jesus wants us to handle difficult, rude, discourteous, contentious, loutish individuals. So what are those that would attempt to live Godly in Christ Jesus to do?
Sermon on the Mount
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
Really? If someone insults me, I need to ignore it? If they ask for my help, I need to go above and beyond in helping them? If they ask me to loan them something of mine, I should? Jesus are you sure about this cause I sure don’t feel like it!
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is 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. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.(ESV)
Ok, so You want me to love them like You loved me before I loved You….ok but what if that doesn’t change them? what if they never see the light and change their ways?
Vengeance is Mine
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written,“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “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.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.(ESV)
But Lord this is not easy, it’s hard to not repay evil for evil, to love my enemies, and to turn the other cheek!
2 Timothy 3:
12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.(ESV)
My Grace Is Sufficient
2 Corinthians 12:
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh,a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.(ESV)
Blessed are the Peacemakers
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.(KJV)
In the Old West, they used Samuel Colt’s “Peacemaker” to settle differences, disputes and insults but Jesus desires for us to be a different kind of peacemaker. So….how about you? Are you a peacemaker?