Fresh Manna© by Pastor Tim Burt
http://www.freshmanna.org/ Part One “Opposing Evil, Loving Good”
Romans 12:9 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good”
Renee and I have been married for 28 years. We have a wonderful marriage by the grace of God. When we were first married, that was not the case. We were both so young and immature. We were down right childish at times and it was reflected in the arguing and fighting that happened far too frequently in a first few years of marriage. We survived because we knew we loved each other and loved God more. We were committed to learning how to love each other and over time and communicating in all the right ways that would work. When we learned to listen to each other, put ourselves in each others shoes, stick to the issues we had to work through, and treat each other with respect at all times, we had the breakthrough that took our marriage to a wonderful place.
Prior to that we were like brats. When we’d fight we’d get angry. Angry sounds to tame. Hatred sounds too harsh. It fell somewhere in between. I noticed something about the both of us when we fought that always held true. When we were angry, we seemed energized and wound up like a clock. (For you younger people, clocks used to have a spring and you wound up them up.) When Renee was made at me, she won’t speak to me but she’d go do housework and it seemed like she’d get twice as much down. I seemed to do the same thing. I’d go find a project and it was amazing how much I got done. (At least our fighting had some upside.) As we matured in life, we learned to use the emotions of hatred or anger for good and not for evil.
Hatred and anger are real emotions that are given by God. Find someone walking in them and you might find someone with what seems like boundless energy. Those emotions energize. Of course that energy could manifest horrible results. God did not give these emotions of hatred and anger to be used wrongly – to be angry and hate each other. God gave them to us to be used rightly. Romans 12:9 says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Hatred is not to be aimed toward one another. To the contrary, in many scriptures we are exhorted to “get along,” “to forgive one another,” “to work things out.” These are mandates with which Jesus said, “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father (in Heaven) will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:15)
The Apostle Paul also taught us that in general, we need to recognize that it’s not people that we are battling but wicked spiritual forces in the background that work to get people to fight and destroy each other. Eph 6:10-12 says, “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.”
We are to oppose evil and wickedness and work to overcome it. Romans 12:21 instructs and exhorts us, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” When we are in a position of seeing evil that we should oppose, the emotions of hatred or anger can fuel us to do so but we need to exercise that energy in a godly fashion.
Evil is opposed in many different ways and at many different levels. In war, evil is opposed by military with strategies and weapons of warfare. At the level of street crime, evil is opposed by different forms of police and government law enforcement agencies. In our day-to-day lives we are to oppose evil or wrong but never outside of the boundaries of respect.
I recently received a letter from a friend of mine who was feeling quite stressed. He works for a very large corporation that sells retail goods. His company had made the decision last year to take the word “Christmas” out of their advertising much to the dismay of many Christians. They feel Christianity is under attack and what used to be a very normal seasonal welcome and greeting around the Christmas holiday is being stolen from our nation’s culture. Many of the letters and emails that have come from Christians to him about this have been completely outside of the boundaries of respect and Christian representation. Their comment contain cursing, are mean spirited, rude or sarcastic, and worse. You couldn’t find a trace of Christ-like attitude in them if you tried.
Am I trying to imply they don’t have the right or shouldn’t speak of their disapproval? Not at all. I myself don’t approve of these kinds of policies and want to see Christmas brought back into their greetings and advertising. I have written my own objection. But, in voicing any disapproval, respect is crucial to a Christian witness and attitude. 2 Tim. 2:24-26 says it like this: “The Lord’s servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will believe the truth. Then they will come to their senses…”
Today’s Fresh Manna verse says, “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good,” but these words are preceded by the words “Love must be sincere.” This is the winning combination to opposing what is wrong or evil God’s way. More tomorrow…
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt http://www.freshmanna.org/
Published by Pastor Tim BurtCopyright© 2006
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