A few weeks ago, I heard some coworkers who claim to be Christians, discussing a situation where a coworker’s daughter was being verbally bullied. We’ll call her Sara. Sara’s brother, who was just 7 years old, was tragically shot and killed by another child who had been playing with a gun. A girl at Sara’s school began teasing her and saying mean things about her deceased brother. So Sara punched the girl, and was subsequently sent home from school.
When my coworkers heard the story, they began to cheer, and it was actually one of the Christians that said, “Good, I would have punched her too!” They went on and on, laughing about how they would have held her down and beat her up.
As I sat there and listened to this exchange, the question came to my heart: “Well, what would that accomplish?” Is that really what Jesus died for?
Jesus went to the cross and was wounded and marred more than any man, not so we can have a comfortable life, taking vengeance into our own hands, but to save us and transform us into His image.
Jesus lives His life through us, as believers.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20
Can you see Jesus holding someone down and beating them up?
They spit on Him, cursed Him, accused Him of being demonic, beat Him beyond recognition and made Him carry His own cross…
And still He died for us, asking the Father to forgive them “for they know not what they do.”
Why can’t we be that way with each other?
The young girl who was verbally bullying Sara, needed the love of Jesus just like those who bullied and opposed Jesus His whole life.
If your child was in that unfortunate situation, what would you have done? What lesson would you have taught them?
Would you have said, “Way to go!” Or would you have told her the story of Jesus and how much He suffered and died for us so that He could save us, redeem us and make us brand new.
If Jesus lives inside you through the Holy Spirit, isn’t your job to give Him away to those in need? To multiply His likeness on the earth?
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?1 Corinthians 3:16
“Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord.
God is a God of justice. It’s His job to judge and our job to love.
To love those into The Kingdom who don’t deserve it, because guess what? You didn’t deserve it. We don’t deserve to be called sons of God. We deserve death and hell.
Remember, no one had to teach you how to be stingy, selfish, lie, and be greedy. You were taught to be kind, to share, and say thank you. We were born into a fallen state, but God loved us so much not to leave us there.
That’s why he sent His Son to redeem us. And when we give our hearts to Him, we become a New Creation, born again, and are transformed into his own image.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.2 Corinthians 5:17
I heard it said that salvation is the greatest miracle to ever happen.
And it happens every time someone gives their life to Christ. Our sin nature becomes God’s nature and once we are filled with the Holy Spirit, He begins to produce His Fruit through us; Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!2 Corinthians 13:5
So if you find yourself saying and meaning: “They deserve that! Good, they need to get punished!” Yes, they do need to be punished. But is that your job or God’s?
I encourage you to do a heart check.
Do you look like Jesus, sound like Jesus, act like Jesus?
Think about the person who has sinned against you, spreading pain because, according to Pastor Dan Mohler, they don’t know their true identity. They don’t know their worth.
What does that person actually need?
They need to meet the person of Jesus Christ.
And if Christ lives inside you, as a believer, then why aren’t you sharing Him? The bully is the one who needs Him a great deal. And if you have Jesus living inside you, why not give Him to them? Do what the Lord asks and show Love instead of hate.
That’s how The Gospel is spread. The message of Good News. It’s for all, good or bad, and the Bible says there is none righteous, no not one. Your sin is no better or worse than someone else’s in God’s eyes.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.Romans 3:23
What will you accomplish by taking revenge? Evaluate your heart and ask “am I truly thinking like Christ?”
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.Romans 8:7
So if you find yourself struggling to model the heart of Jesus…
I encourage you to go into your prayer closet and ask the Lord to reveal anything in your heart that is against His will.
I do this daily. At times my coworkers and family members say and do things that offend my heart. And vice versa, I’m sure. It’s during those times I have a choice to make. I can either pray for them and bless them, or punish them in some way, allowing bitterness to take root.
When I choose to pray blessings over them, even if it’s hard at first, Jesus takes away the sting of offense. The hurt begins to lift as I pray blessings over them and their family.
But to those of you who will listen, I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone takes your cloak, do not withhold your tunic as well.Luke 6: 27-29
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.Matthew 5:44
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.1 Peter 3:9