TOPIC: CHOOSING TO DIE WITH YOUR ENEMY – Thursday April 19th 2018
Memorise: Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Genesis 17:1
Read: Romans 12:9-21 (KJV)
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
The simple and expected response to the thought-provoking question in today’s topic is “no”. In practice however, this may not be the case. It is true that the people of this world can be terribly wicked, so much so that one may find it difficult to let go when the opportunity presents itself to pay them back in their own coin.
Nevertheless, this is contrary to the nature of God that we bear as Christians. Speaking to us about this in Romans 12:19, the Holy Spirit says: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
The story of Samson is a good example of someone who chose to die with his enemies. Although he was born a Nazarite to God, he had many flaws in his character, the most lethal of which was vindictiveness. When a person is vindictive, such a fellow will be unforgiving, merciless and absolutely cruel. When his enemies bound him in chains and plucked out his eyes, instead of calling on God for the forgiveness of his sins, he chose to pray to God to avenge his eyes. Judges 16:28 says, “And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenge of the Philistines for my two eyes.”
When one listens to the prayers of some people who ordinarily should be on their face asking God for mercy, one cannot but wonder if they are not praying to die with their enemies. Such people ask God to avenge them of their enemies, when they are the ones whose sins empowered the enemy to buffet them. No doubt, God will honour His word to recompense the evildoer. However, what do you stand to gain if your enemies die as a result of the evil they did to you, but you also die in your sins? That is not a wise thing to you, but you also die in your sins? That is not a wise thing to do. This is the reason why Romans 12:17 warns us that we should not repay any man evil for evil, but rather, we should overcome evil with good. When someone offends you and you decide not to settle with him or her, what you are indirectly saying is that you are ready to die with that enemy. You put the forgiveness of that fellow on hold and yours will not be released to you either. Mark 11:26 says,
“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
We need to forgive those who wrong us for our own sake because the Scripture is clear that unless we do, we are in danger of preferring to die with our enemies instead of saving ourselves from the judgement to come upon this world.
Prayer Point: Father, please forgive my trespasses as I have forgiven those who trespassed against me.
Open Heavens Daily Devotional Lessons was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical Church in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer's Ministries.