In Our Best Interest
God’s commands and expectations of us can be difficult at times, and that is if we even understand what it is He expects of us. In my experience, the problem is that I get hung up on why He expects some of the things He does. One example occurred only a couple of months after my salvation. I remember praying at the altar when the Word of the Lord came to me saying, “Go. Forgive your mother”. I do not mean in any way for this to be comical, because it really was not but, I nearly lost my cool and cursed God aloud, right there at the altar during church. Instead, as quietly as I could manage, I replied, “God, I cannot do that! Not after all she put us through and to this day there is no remorse”.
I was so infuriated because I could not understand what it was that God was asking of me. I tried to convince myself that it was not God that I really heard. But the quiet voice returned saying, “if you do not, I cannot use you”. I did what any baby would do – I cried, I begged, and I pleaded, “Please, God! I cannot do that! Please, don’t make me!” I could not understand what God was thinking when He told me to forgive my mother. Surely, He knew all the torment I suffered at her hands and all the misery she orchestrated in mine and my sibling’s lives. I thought it absurd. He did not push me to do this, but He got my attention when He told me that He would bring my sister home when I did.
My sister had run away from home two weeks prior to this and nobody knew where she had gone. So, I decided to do what God asked. I would have done anything to make sure my sister was safe and back at home. I do not perceive that God bribed me or coerced me in any way. He simply let me know that when I did forgive my mother, my sister would come home. I stalled until I just could not stall any longer. I went to my mom’s house unannounced and she was obviously disgusted by my presence. It took every ounce of inner strength I could muster but I did forgive her. That afternoon, my sister returned home, and I found more joy in glorifying God for His faithfulness than I had anger toward Him for asking this of me.
I could not fathom uttering those words to my mother and I considered that God had gone bonkers in asking such a thing of me. It made no sense whatsoever to me. Nevertheless, I did what He asked – what He commanded. What I discovered was that it was meant for my good. Twenty years later, I still struggle with some of the things He commands but, today I am not as reluctant to obey. Today, I remind myself that whatever He commands me to do is for my good. I remind myself that I do not have to understand at that moment what God is doing or what He is thinking. What I try to keep in mind is that God knows what He is doing. When I obey, especially the hard commands, I come through it with the realization that it was for my benefit.
Our natural tendency is to make those who hurt us, hurt more than they did us. It is natural for us to want to give back as good, if not better than what we got. We think we must lash back and inflict pain on our offenders. It is most difficult to not only refrain from these natural tendencies but, to show favor to those who have harmed us. If not for God and the power of the Holy Spirit, this would not be possible. Even with the guidance of the Spirit, the flesh will rear up its ugly head in staunch retaliation. But I challenge you to follow through because it truly is for your benefit. Obey the Word and God’s faithfulness will shine through brighter than ever.
Do you despise those who have aligned themselves with you as foes? What about those who simply despise your very existence? What about those who curse you or simply make your life difficult? We all have these issues, and we all have people such as these described who cross our paths regularly. I want to challenge you to draw on the strength of the Spirit and love your enemies, show kindness to the ones who hate you. Bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you. This is the Word of the Lord. Obeying His Word is in our best interest.
27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you
28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28).