“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the Lord will reward you.”
Proverbs 25:21-22 NKJV
““But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”
Luke 6:27-31 NKJV
God has taught me restraint. I have had the tutelage from the Great Teacher, as my life has been the focus of targeted attacks. I am one conspicuous, one who stands out from the crowd. For whatever reason, the Lord has made me noticeable, easily distinguished. I am like the shiny nail, sticking up, and regularly pounded.
I am one who craves invisibility, and always desiring to blend into the background. It is hard for me to have much attention. Some crave it, but I run from it, screaming.
Even as a child, I stood apart from my peers, as I was scary smart in a world where it was not safe for black people to show their brilliance. My life was filled with obsession and rejection, as I stood out as a spectacle. Some people would seek to pound me into conformity, others were obsessed and sought to press me into their lives, creating scenarios of involvement, and being frustrated when I did not play.
Through it all, I learned to restrain myself, to not strike back. In those days, lost in sin, my desire was to avoid bigger problems. I figured that trouble would go away if I simply ignored it. Often enough it did. Sometimes it didn’t.
Eventually I learned to disassociate, to remove myself to the degree that I was no longer there. I have mastered that in my adult life, to the extant that I have learned to make people disappear from my consciousness. They can be standing next to me and it is like they are invisible.
Since becoming a follower of Christ, restraint has become based in spiritual things. These days, I do not have the option of not engaging, as I am on mission to share the Good News, to tell people of Jesus, the God/Man who came and lived a sinless life, who died on the cross, raised from the grave in resurrection and now intercedes on behalf of the saints.
“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Romans 12:17-21 NKJV
I do not restrain myself by will, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. I am mindful that the person I am in opposition with is one for whom salvation has been purchased, who may be in the very elect, to be saved from the wrath of hell. Very often those caught up in sin will attack those they know who are believers, in the hopes of confirming their lives of sin.
Brothers and sisters, it is crucial for those who are followers of Jesus to use the restraint of God in facing those in opposition. The evil one is seeking to kill two birds with one stone, as he desires to destroy the testimonies of believers and capture the eternal souls of those lost.
But we know better. We have the example of Jesus, who ministered to the Jews for three and a half years, facing great trial and rejection, and was ultimately tortured, assaulted and put to death. In all of that, He did not rail against those who abused Him. He could have vaporized everything in an instant, as in Him all things consist, but Jesus went to the cross for the sins of the world.
“There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.”
Luke 23:32-34 NKJV
We may face many bad and evil things, as many of our brothers and sisters are already, but remember this: You have a Savior who has experienced everything you will, and He overcame the world.
They meant to defeat Him, but He was victorious, they meant to erase Him from history, yet He split time. Jesus is God, Jehovah Sabaoth, Almighty God. He was born into humility, yet regal by birthright.
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
He is coming again.
Let us find peace in that knowledge, and let us be sustained by the work the Lord has for us to do. Let every soul led to Jesus be a victory in battle, in a war that has already been won.
Be prepared, people, armed up and covered from head to toe with what the Lord has provided.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”
Ephesians 6:13-18 NKJV
Above all else: Pray!
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!