March 25, 2012
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable (v.17).
READ: Romans 12:14-21
Chuck Colson tells the story of Ron Greer, an ex-convict who was rehabilitated through Colson’s Prison Fellowship ministry. Greer, who became a church leader after serving his time, was once interrupted by a group of gay activists as he was conducting a church service. The activists were disrespectful and disruptive. They shouted obscenities and urinated on the restroom floors. They even went so far as to throw condoms on a prayer altar.
The church leader, who had preached that homosexual behaviour contradicts the Bible, stood and smiled as the service-crashers carried on. Later he was asked by the press why he didn’t get angry. Greer said, “I have no more reason to get angry with them than if a blind man stepped on my foot” (see Romans 12:14).
The church leader’s response reminds me of how Jesus responded even as He was being nailed to the cross by Roman soldiers. If there was ever a time to get angry and throw out some verbal venom, that was it. Instead Jesus uttered this prayer: “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Like Jesus, this pastor recognised that those who verbally attack us—because of our beliefs—are often unaware. They say ugly things because they’re in a self deceived state that leads them to oppose God and us. They are misguided souls in need of God’s grace and truth. We must respond with love if we hope to win them over to Jesus and the truth that will set them free.
We should guard against getting defensive and angry at those who verbally attack us because of our beliefs. Getting mad and resorting to their harsh tactics is not the way of Jesus (Romans 12:17). Instead, we can honour Him by striving to “conquer evil by doing good” (v.21). —Jeff Olson
How do you tend to respond to those who attack your Christian beliefs? Why is it important that our response be different from the way we’ve been treated?