How Does God Reward for NOT Getting Even?
- Carey Kinsolving Columnist
- 2002 8 Feb
"It is far easier to forgive an enemy after you've got even with him," wrote Olin Miller.
Of Eleanor Roosevelt, Ralph McGill wrote: "She got even in a way that was almost cruel. She forgave them."
Thousands of years ago, a man named Solomon expressed similar sentiments. He said that if you want to heap hot coals on the heads of your enemies, be kind to them. He also said, "And the Lord will reward you" (Proverbs 25:21-22).
How would our personal worlds change if we heaped hot coals on our enemies' heads by treating them with kindness? Please notice where the coals are heaped. We have to believe that an enemy's conscience will kick into gear when we return kindness for cruelty.
Now, let's hear from the experts. "For refusing to get even with someone you hurt, God might reward you in any number of ways," says Mikelle, 11. "For one thing, he might keep you from getting hurt anymore. He will punish the person himself. You don't need to take it into your own hands."
When we take vengeance on our enemies, we open ourselves to further retaliation. Please understand that this doesn't mean we have to be stupid about the intentions of our enemies. Rather, it means we can trust God to correct whatever wrongs we have suffered.
"When someone hurts you, this doesn't mean you come out swinging. You should pray for them," says Kirby, 11.
Yes, Jesus said we should pray for our enemies. When our hands itch to strike a blow of revenge, praying is much easier to think about than to do.
Although some people prefer to settle disputes with fists, most resort to words. This is where things get so difficult. "Once you talk back, you lose," says John, 8.
How many times have we wished we could take back a hurtful retort? The Bible compares the tongue to a spark that burns down an entire forest. One spark of revengeful talk or gossip can wreak havoc. If we wouldn't say something about a person when he or she is present, we should keep our mouths shut when he or she is absent.
Do we really believe God is present everywhere, including private conversations with friends? Imagine Jesus listening in this week as you talk with friends on the phone.
"God wants us, His people, to forgive those who hurt us. So many people ridiculed and hurt Jesus, but He forgave them," says Kaci, 11.
If anyone deserved vindication, it was Jesus on the cross. Yet, as he hung between two criminals with arms stretched out on a cross, he said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34).
People who intentionally hurt others are walking or living in darkness. Just because you're a Christian doesn't mean you can't resort to the same vengeful tactics that characterize those who live in darkness apart from God. The difference is that Christians have access to power from the Holy Spirit to restrain them from taking revenge.
Showing kindness to those who mistreat us is an effective way to let the Light of the World shine through us. Jesus promised that we would have trouble in this world. Why are we surprised when we're treated unjustly?
"God can reward you by making you have a good day and when you get to heaven. Just because someone hurts you, it doesn't mean you have to get back at them," says Keeleigh, 11.
Peace of mind is an immediate reward for turning revenge over to God. Planning and executing revenge will drain your mental and spiritual batteries. Instead, get out your shovel, and start heaping those coals of kindness on your enemies.
Bring a KTAG Arts Festival to your church or school. For details, visit the Arts Festivals page at www.kidstalkaboutgod.com. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.
COPYRIGHT 2002 CAREY KINSOLVING