I hope you’re doing well and staying safe.
First of all, please pray for your girl. I wrote out this entire post, and then all of a sudden when I went to upload and my WordPress app crashed.I cried a little bit, but God is good! Here we go, take 2!
This week God was reminding me about character, and how we reflect Christ in our lives. It was one of those lessons where I didn’t want to hear it, but I really needed.
Question. Have you ever been in a situation where you feel perhaps you’re giving more than you’re getting? Let’s be frank here, it doesn’t feel great. This can happen with friends, with family, coworkers or in relationships. You might not always get recognised for the small things that you do. In the same way, being honest, we might not recognise or always appreciate when others do things for us.
I recently went through a situation where I felt I had done so much for someone, and realised “I didn’t even get a thank you. Or really much recognition for what I did”. I was disappointed and frustrated and I wanted to stay angry. So, I stubbornly made up my mind that from now on, I’m only going to do good to those who actually recognise and appreciate what I do. And that’s it. However, God reminded me of a few verses!
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”
Colossians 3:17 NIV
“But if you love those who love you, what credit 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 credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Luke 6:32-34 NKJV
Have you ever had a scripture which really drags you, it convicts you by speaking straight to your situation. Yep. That was me.
I realised that God isn’t calling us to be good reciprocally, but intentionally and consistently. Read that again.
What that means is that, just because people might not be treating us great, that doesn’t mean we should follow suit. We don’t treat people kindly because they deserve it, because if we are looking about deserving, there’s no way we could be deserving of Gods love.
Colossians tells us that whatever we do, we do as unto God. We don’t treat people good because of them, but because God wants us to do good, and to share His love. This means that whether people thank us or not, we’ve done it for God.
I then started questioning whether this means that we should just let people walk all over us, and take advantage. Not at all! Doing good to others, even those who aren’t good to us can even just mean praying for them, forgiving them.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
This can just mean choosing to turn the cheek, choosing not to stoop down to levels of them treating you bad. Choosing not to revenge or to also speak bad about them. The bible tells us that this will heap coals on their head (not literally), but it means that God will reward you!
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.
A lot of times, we’re actually seeking the praise of people. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to be appreciated, and it’s nice to receive thanks. However, we shouldn’t wait for that to still do good. This is because the opinions of people can be so fickle. Someone can praise you for the same thing that another will despise you for. You can’t choose to live your life depending on the opinions and characteristics of other people.
Another reason why we can’t wait to treat people as they treat us, is because human beings we are not stable. I said what I said. A lot of times the someone treats you is a reflection of themselves, rather than a reflection of you. Your coworker might snap at you one day, they might have been having one of those days when everything just seems to be going wrong. If you now choose to respond and be nasty back, rather than maybe praying for that person, now it’s a whole mess. I’m not making excuses for people, I don’t always know the reason why people act they way that they do. However what I am saying is that God doesn’t want us to focus on reciprocating what they do, but consistently showing His character through love.
When Jesus died, one of the last thing He said was “Father forgive them”, and these people had beaten Him, abused Him, spat and cursed at Him. Okay Tadi, but that was Jesus. Look at Stephen, the last thing before he died, was “Father forgive them” Acts 7:60. David, when Saul was looking for him, wanting to get him and kill him, instead of killing Saul, and getting him first, he chose NOT to! Multiple times.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, [n]love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. 46 For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? 48 You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:43-48 AMP
Now don’t get me wrong. It is not easy. Even praying for them from a distance. Even biting your tongue and not cursing at them back. Even just doing your part to keep peace, to your ability. IT IS NOT EASY. If it was easy, everyone would do it. I was transparent with you, that had it not been for God reminding me of those scriptures, I would’ve stayed angry.
However, we aren’t alone. We have the Holy Spirit to help us. As I said in a previous post, the fruit of the Spirit, evidence of the Holy Spirit working in us, is love in all it’s various forms. God is calling us to love. He is calling us to do good. And to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). We have a helper. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us, and help us. It’s something we have to practice everyday.
I want to reiterate this , as my last point. God doesn’t want us to show love and do good reciprocally based on the actions of others. But He wants us to do good, and love intentionally and consistently, as a response to His love and what HE has done for us. John 13:34 – 35 – “A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that you are my disciple. If you have love for one another.”
The world will give you reasons to hate, choose to love anyway.
When life gives you every reason not to, do good anyway.
~ peace, joy & love.