“Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.” Romans 12:14,17
We all have been hurt by different people in our lifetime. Sometimes we have even been hurt by those we have called friends and family. Some of those hurts are often the most painful. The instinct for us when we have been hurt or ridiculed is to strike back or as the verse says above to “pay back evil with more evil.”
Our culture tells us to be mad, hold a grudge, and get even if possible. However, in the verses above, Jesus is calling us to a different standard. The ability to bless those who hurt us is counter-cultural thinking. How is that even possible? It is possible because as Christians the Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit of God lives within each of us making it possible for us to live and react differently in these situations than most people.
If we will allow the Holy Spirit to lead and control our lives, then He will fill our hearts with too much love to hate others and hold grudges. Romans 12:17 goes on to command us to “do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.” In other words, God is instructing us to rise above what has been done to us so that others might the see the love of Jesus in our lives.
You might be thinking this is all well and good for a goal but does the Bible really understand what has happened to me. I want to remind you the verses in Romans 12 were written by a man who understood hurt and being wrongfully treated. The Apostle Paul had been beaten, stoned, and thrown in prison for living the Christian life. Paul understood what it meant to respond in a way that would honor God instead of seeking to get even.
Romans 12:18 also declares: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” God is teaching us to respond to anger and hurt in a different manner. It is not natural to what the world expects but it is what the Lord would have us to do.
I have also learned over the years that getting even, holding a grudge, or staying angry is not a good thing for me physically or spiritually. I have found that this type of response only hurts me over the long haul. There is an anonymous quote that has helped me with my approach in handling hurt and anger.
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
I pray God will use the truths of these verses to help those of you today that find yourselves amid some hurt you may be experiencing.