“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44 NIV).
When people hurt you, they expect you to retaliate. They expect you to seek revenge. But God wants you to do the exact opposite. He wants you to respond in love.
Respond to mistreatment with love, and you keep the other person from controlling you. Booker T. Washington once said, “I will never allow another man to control my life by allowing him to make me hate him.” You can’t control when another person treats you unfairly. You can control whether you get bitter in the process. You can control your response to injustice.
Just because you respond to an offender lovingly doesn’t mean you continue to allow injustice. On the contrary, we must lovingly seek justice. We must work for justice in the world without retaliating. The Bible commands us to “be fair-minded and just. Do what is right!” (Jeremiah 22:3 NLT)
Martin Luther King Jr. was a great example of this. He fought against injustice without violence. He overcame evil through the power of love. He followed the example of Jesus, who chose to forgive his persecutors even as they were killing him.
That’s our calling as followers of Jesus. Unfairness and injustice may be part of the human condition, but we must not feed into it. Instead, God calls us to respond in love.
RELAX IN MY PEACEFUL PRESENCE. Do not bring performance pressures into our sacred space of communion. When you are with someone you trust completely, you feel free to be yourself. This is one of the joys of true friendship. Though I am Lord of lords and King of kings, I also desire to be your intimate Friend. When you are tense or pretentious in our relationship, I feel hurt. I know the worst about you, but I also see the best in you. I long for you to trust Me enough to be fully yourself with Me. When you are real with Me, I am able to bring out the best in you: the very gifts I have planted in your soul. Relax, and enjoy our friendship.
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great
prostitute, who sits on many waters.”
REVELATION 17 : 14
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no
longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for
everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
JOHN 15 : 13 – 15
Celebrate Your Uniqueness
Your shape was sovereignly determined by God for his purpose, so you shouldn’t resent it or reject it. Instead of trying to reshape yourself to be like someone else, you should celebrate the shape God has given only to you. “Christ has given each of us special abilities – whatever he wants us to have out of his rich storehouse of gifts.” (Ephesians 4:7 LB)
Part of accepting your shape is recognizing your limitations. Nobody is good at everything, and no one is called to be everything. We all have defined roles. Don’t be envious of the runner in the lane next to you; just focus on finishing your race. God wants you to enjoy using the shape he has given you.
Satan will try to steal the joy of service from you in a couple of ways: by tempting you to compare your ministry with others, and by tempting you to conform your ministry to the expectations of others. Both are deadly traps that will distract you from serving in the ways God intended. Whenever you lose your joy in ministry, start by considering if either one of these temptations is the cause.