Often thinking on the painful emotions I feel — rolling them over and over in my mind — is neither healthy emotionally nor pleasing to God. Like you, I’m in a fight (Eph. 6). The negative thoughts I nurse about others are not consistent with God’s will and character. I know that. (We are responsible about what we think about: Philippians :8.) Some of the things I’ve said while, say, I’m driving alone in my car are, well, O boy, things I wouldn’t really want repeated around the Sunday dinner table. 🙂
But lately when I’ve been emotionally stirred up I’ve been considering some of the things said by Peacemaker writer Ken Sande:
- Do you want to turn your back on someone who ignored you during a time of need? Then take the initiative to encourage and serve that person.
- Do you feel like sharing embarrassing information about someone who gossiped about you? Instead protect that person’s reputation and draw attention to her virtues and accomplishments.
- Are you tempted to shun someone who has deliberately rejected your advice? Surprise him by seeking his counsel and implementing his worthwhile ideas.
- Do you secretly hope that someone who rejected you will be hurt in the same way? Pray daily that God will graciously spare her from such harm.
- Was someone disloyal to you, and now you have a chance to do the same in return? Amaze her by standing fast as her friend and supporter.
Jesus said it like this:
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same…. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:27-36).
Sometimes the best course of action is to do a complete 180. (No, not if you have been abused or are in serious danger. There are times when you must get help from authorities … Romans 13:1-7.)
Says writer Sande:
But when emotions are churning during the normal disappointments and trials of life, doing the opposite of what you feel like doing — without expecting any benefit in return — can put you on a course that imitates God’s mercy and grace to you (Eph. 5:1-2), and gives you the best chance of preserving a relationship you might otherwise loose.