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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rules for Christian Living - Part Four

If you have ever stood in the midst of accusers or those who just don't make life very pleasant for you, you know what it is like to feel a little mistreated. Mistreated people actually feel like they are being "abused" a little - the things being done to them are just plain wrong. The one being mistreated feels like they are standing alone - no help in sight, no end either!  To be the receiving end of abuse is just not pleasant, but to actually turn "toward" your abuser and then bless them is quite another thing altogether!  To return good when all you are receiving is bad or harmful is almost like asking for the impossible, but we need to keep in mind God's plan is to always do the impossible through us. 

Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. (Romans 12:14 CEV)

It doesn't say we are to be the ones giving the blessing to another - it says we are to take that individual to God and ask God to bless him or her.  I think this is where we get it wrong in our lives - we think we are being asked to actually be the ones to have to bless the other person's life, but we are only being asked to bring that individual before God and ask God to "favor" them in a way HE sees fit.  This may differ entirely from how we see "fit" for that individual.  You might be surprised how God knows exactly how to bless another's life. Sometimes the very things which seem to be mounting good in the other person's life can be interpreted as God not caring for the hurt or pain we are in because of the other person's actions.  In truth, God may be using the good he bestows to actually bring the other person to a place of recognizing him.

Did you ever stop to consider what it is to actually bear up under the burden of too much blessing?  Before you send me off to be stoned, hear me out.  When God chooses to bless and bless someone's life with what we see as good, contrary to how they have been acting toward you, it may be the "good" is mounting up to the place they will actually stumble under the weight of all that good!  Before you get your hopes up that God makes someone stumble and fall who has done you wrong, let me assure you he only uses their own desires to reveal their true colors.  It may be he is bringing them to the place they hit rock bottom and recognize they have a tremendous need despite their tremendous blessing in life!

Ask God to bless and not to curse - something so totally opposed to our natural inclination, huh?  When hurt by another, we want to lash out, not have blessing bestowed in their lives.  We want to see wrong done to them like they have done to us - it is this retaliatory response God is after here.  He wants us to recognize we want to get even and this is not his way of ever doing business! If it were, then grace would be null and void in his economy!  God's move toward the one who stands in need of his mercy is always something we just don't understand very well, but we sure enjoy being on the receiving end of that mercy!  Asking God to bless another may not be our first response to their negative behavior, but it is the right one - because we ALL stand in need of his mercy.  

The idea here is asking God to "harass" them in a way so totally in opposition to the way they have been harassing you that they cannot help but be convicted by their actions.  Grace extended brings conviction sometimes sooner than any other thing in someone's life.  Repeated attacks returned with repeated blessing will make the one doing the attacking a little uncomfortable after a while. When they see we don't get riled, refuse to return their negative and hurtful actions with similar ones, and remind God to "handle" them in the way which best reflects him, they will eventually stop.  Why?  It is hard to face grace's open arms repeatedly without falling into them at some point.  Just sayin!