January 19, 2014

I’ll Get You – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:02 am by sranderson0103

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt. 5:11-12)

“Blessed? Do you know what they did to me? That back stabber lied about me behind my back, and do you know what kind of damage that caused?”

The “natural man” guided by the flesh and full of pride, gets all fired up and immediately begins to focus ingeniously on plots and plans to even the score. “Just imagine. I could turn this disaster around and give them a taste of their own medicine. Wouldn’t it be great if I could give them what they have coming.”

That may feel right but it is wrong. The Apostle Paul commands,

“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God,…” (Romans 12:19)

But how should we respond to these terrible things done by this terrible person? What is Divine wisdom?

First, this “terrible person,” is a human being created in the image of God. That’s one reason Moses gave for not killing them. (Pay attention, young brothers and sisters.)

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” (Genesis 9:6)

Second, we are all guilty of sin and God’s divine justice has determined that you and I are really worthy of eternal punishment. Yes, these terrible people did really evil things. (They hurt ME.) But, we do too…and in God’s view, one sin is terrible.

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”  (James 2:10)

Third, God is a just God who has promised that He absolutely, positively will even the score and He will do it perfectly.

“…leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “ VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Do you believe that? Really? Then why the overwhelming compulsion to make sure that it gets done? God promised that He would, so back off.

In other words: They are not that bad; we are not that good and God will even the score.

“OK, that looks different, but, ‘Rejoice’?”

We need to remember that we are not the only ones who ever got stabbed in the back with cruel words, in fact many of God’s children were stabbed with actual cold, steel blades. God sees all this. We understand that God appreciates those who have died for him, like Stephen.

“…they began gnashing their teeth at him. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:54-56)

Now, having come out of all of earth’s pain and disappointment, Stephen is being comforted in the presence of his Lord. You think he knows about rejoicing?

Why was it that Jesus told us to rejoice?

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:12)

This lesson is not easy to remember and takes a lot of practice to be good at it. God knows this and reminds us over and over.

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; (Matthew 5:44)

“…not returning evil for evil or  insult for insult, but  giving a  blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might  inherit a blessing.” (I Pet. 3:9).

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps …while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (I Pet. 2:21-23)

 

 

 

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