Series 2 – Will I Stop Hurting Pt 4
Overcoming Evil with Love
“You have heard that it has been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, that you resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue you at the law, and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. And whosoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two. Give to him that asks you, and from him that would borrow of you turn not away. You have heard that it has been said; Thou shalt love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:38-45
“If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:18-21
First, Jesus and then Paul, provide a pretty tall order for us to fill. In our own strength and ability, it is in fact impossible, but “with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) It is through Jesus that it becomes possible to not pay back evil and we will discover that this actually becomes a powerful key to our healing.
Recognize that your enemy is not your spouse or the person with whom they may be involved. Satan wants us to divert our spiritual energy and emotional strength toward fighting our mate or the person with whom they are involved.
If a family member had a bad case of stomach flu and caused a “mess” that we had to clean up, we wouldn’t get upset with them. We would have compassion for them, knowing they were a victim of the sickness. The flu virus, not the patient is the real problem. In a similar way, we need to see past the situation that is causing the pain and the person who is conveying the hurt to us. They are victims of the real enemy. Just as we would treat a patient with love and attack the viral enemy, we need to return love and attack the spiritual enemy.
When we release our ______________ to Jesus and have an attitude of returning ___________ for __________, we experience ________________ and ________________ in our lives. It is then that we can be most ________________in fighting the _______________.
According to Ephesians 6:12 who is our real enemy? ________________________________________
Can you think of a time or incident where you lived out the principal Jesus teaches at the top of the page in Matthew 5:38-45? ______________________________________________________________
Do you recall how it affected you to act this way? ___________________________________________
How did it affect the person you responded to in love? _______________________________________
Avoiding Strife Preserves Our Healing
Make avoiding strife a top priority. The dictionary defines strife as a conflict, contention, struggle and disagreement. Many of us don’t need a dictionary when it comes to strife. We’ve seen it so much that we consider ourselves experts. We know through experience strife brings in confusion, just as God’s Word says. However we may not be aware that strife serves as a demonic gateway. According to James, it lets in “every evil work!”
- The best way to keep out of strife is to not get started in it. See Proverbs 17:14.
- To avoid strife you need pure (self-less) motives. See Proverbs 26:17.
- We avoid strife when we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. See Philippians 2:3.
Love must be based on right attitudes and can only be conveyed through your actions. Forgiveness is love in action. Just as Jesus healed people physically through forgiveness (see Mark 2:10 and Luke 5:24), He will heal our hurt as we forgive others.
Walking in love means we don’t keep track when we are wronged. Avoid judgment and criticism. When we judge others, we will cause our emotions to become dulled and hardened to that thing.
Avoid murmuring and complaining. Complaints and sympathy act to drain our spiritual vitality, sap our strength and weaken our faith.
The Psalms are a source of comfort and encouragement. David learned how to deal with the pain of rejection, and with having his wife and his family taken from him. Although David was deeply hurt, he is an example of a man who kept his heart true. He also recognized that King Saul, who persecuted him for years, was not his enemy, but instead David walked in love and forgiveness. When David’s family was taken captive and his friends rejected him, he encouraged himself in the Lord. The Psalms give clear evidence of the thoughts that David had to cast down. The process he used in praising God and meditating on God’s Word is clearly seen. The years of walking through hard experiences caused David to learn God’s faithfulness.
Unforgiveness results in __________________.
With forgiveness comes __________________.
Love forgives without _______________________.
Murmuring weakens our ________________ and delays our ___________________.
Avoiding ________________ demonstrates our trust in God and brings Him ________________.
Bringing God glory strengthens our __________________and brings _________________.
Your heart can’t be merry while you are speaking out complaints!