Evil For Evil
"Mildred, the small town gossip and self-appointed monitor of church morals, was always one to stick her nose into other people’s business. Most members of the congregation did not approve of her intrusions, but she was feared, so all maintained their silence. She took that fatal step too far one day, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup- parked in front of the small town’s only bar all afternoon. She emphatically told Frank (in front of several others) that EVERYONE SEEING THAT PICK UP THERE WOULD KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING! Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment then just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing. Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house, walked home...and left it there all night."
I laughed when I read this and thought it was great. A good lesson for Mildred. Isn't that so human of me? Grace does not come naturally. After I laughed, I think the Holy Spirit nudged me and brought a Scripture to mind. 1 Peter 3: 9, "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing."
I'm going to be honest I would have been ready to bad mouth Mildred to someone. Call my friend and say, "can you believe what that Mildred did?" But as a Christian the Holy Spirit will whisper, Ephesians 4: 29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." I try to remember that a person's behavior has to do with their inner struggles and nothing to do with me. But it can be hard not to take things personal.
What has Mildred done to deserve kindness? What have I done to deserve kindness? In 1 Samuel 25: 2-42, Abigail's grace softened David's heart. This love story shows how Abigail displayed grace toward people through hospitality. She extended grace as she became the mediator between her husband, Nabal and David. Because of the grace she extended, there were lives saved and hearts softened. Abigail brought David a gift of peace which he accepted. And God showed her His favor by replacing her life of misery with a life of joy. We all know the story of Peter denying Jesus after his arrest. Jesus forgave him. We are called to do the same.
We are all called to forgive those who do evil against us. And we are also told to pray for our enemies. Matthew 5: 43-45, "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, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
God fights evil with love. Romans 12: 21, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Look around our broken and dark world and you can see Satan working to keep God's children from our abundant life. Through the death of Jesus we have been given the power and authority to overcome the enemy's work in our lives and lead others to freedom. We are to use "good" as our weapon just as God taught us. That love and goodness of God will lead us to victory and help us lead other's to victory.