I am a quiet girl who has always desired a quiet life. I love certainty and stability. I love life free from drama, conflict, and chaos. The rules used to be simple. Don’t mess with me, and I won’t mess with you.
However, being reborn into God’s family changes all of that. Because the world hates my Father, the world hates me as well. I am now part of the eternal spiritual battle waging fiercely for every soul of this world. Whether I choose to fight or not, the fight comes to me.
This spiritual fight we are all in sometimes comes in the form of betrayal, rejection, heartache, and pain. I have lost a lot of friends and made a lot of enemies. Because of His great love, I persevere.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21
One of my toughest teachings of the Bible comes from Romans chapter 12. This chapter is a masterclass in practical Christianity and demonstrates the true marks of those who follow Jesus. Our passage today tells us to “overcome evil with good.” What does overcoming evil look like?
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. – Romans 12:14
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the LORD.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” – Romans 12:17-20
Even as I read these verses, my lips press tightly together. I can feel my heart begin to harden and the walls around it begin to climb. I think of those who have violated my body; those who manipulated my mind; those who willfully crushed my soul. To forgive my enemies. To pray for them. To bless them. This just seems too difficult. Too hard. Too scary.
To be perfectly honest, I have played pretty good lip service to these verses. My version of blessing my enemies was putting them completely out of mind, being apathetic to their existence, and avoiding them like the plague. With God, neutrality is not an option. You either love like God loves, or it isn’t love at all!
Listen, all of you. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you; implore God’s blessing on those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, let him slap the other too! If someone demands your coat, give him your shirt as well. – Luke 6:27-29
I have to tell you, ladies. These verses scare me. Forgiveness scares me. I know it is right. I know that God commands it. I know that forgiveness will yield God’s blessings, His peace, and His joy. And I truly need all of those things. I really, really want to forgive. Yet, I struggle.
In all actuality, my struggle to forgive exposed some fears I didn’t even know I had:
- I am afraid to open my heart fully to the threat of new pain, fresh heartache, and disappointment.
- I am afraid that if I forgive I will be perceived as weak and will invite more disrespect and dishonor.
- I am afraid that if I give away too much selflessly, there will be so much less love for myself.
- I worry that I’m not up to the task of forgiveness…that I’m not “spiritual” enough, disciplined enough, or good enough to be used for God.
But God is so faithful. He plants Himself in the center of my fear and exposes these lies with His light so brightly that only His truth can stand.
If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! – Luke 6:32-33
God’s truth is this: You and I are not defined by what has happened to us; not by the pain we have experienced, not by the hardships we have endured, not by the fears that we continue to face. We are identified only as the forgiven daughters of the King of the universe!
Because we are His daughters, God’s will for our lives demands that we love until it hurts.
I want my body to be a “sin-free” zone. Not only free of my own sins, but also free of the sins committed against me. I didn’t realize by refusing to forgive, I was preserving their sin deep inside my heart and mind.
Their sin (which I was stubbornly clinging to in unforgiveness) was producing putrid fruit in my life which was destroying not only me, but damaging my husband and children as well. The only choice I had was to allow God to expose and cut it out, and all surgery is painful.
When I struggle to forgive, God is teaching me to stand in the position of authority in which He has placed me…to stand firmly, proudly, and boldly. To love hard and shine like no other. It would be insulting to shrink from the abundant love that God promises to me and through me.
It is hard, but He is so worth it.
God desires to use His daughters powerfully to combat this world’s great evil with His love. We are His modern-day supernatural superheroes! Since our God is greater than any evil, our love will speak louder than any evil.
I remember this when I’m called to a love that hurts. I remember this and cling to Jesus. I am a quiet girl, but I love loud!
Let’s Talk: Where are you fearful or anxious about loving your enemies and forgiving freely? How can we pray for you as you overcome evil with good?
Peace and grace to you,
Terria serves on the LGG encourager and social media teams. She lives in Virginia with her husband. She is a proud mother of two beautiful girls in college. Her passionate goal is to ignite and empower a generation of millennial women to grab hold of God’s truth and cling to it. She can be tracked down hard at work in busy hospitals listening to patients’ stories, while sharing the lessons and love that God has poured out in her life. Despite the sometimes chaotic circumstances of Terria’s life, God always shows Himself strong and loving.
Sweet friends, as we finish out our powerful Fear & Anxiety study we know you are wondering what study is coming next! We’re excited to announce today that starting on April 23rd we will begin another six-week study in the books of 1st & 2nd Thessalonians!
In the books of 1st & 2nd Thessalonians, you will meet a young church of believers who are going through some pretty scary times…severe persecution is threatening their lives and they are clinging to the promise of Christ’s return! This promise is more than just a hopeful wish; it’s a promise from the ultimate Promise Keeper to His beloved children…He IS coming back. The Thessalonians had to learn to live with this hope as they lived their lives in the now…and so do we.
Invite your friends and join us for our next study as we dig into God’s Word together to find hope, encouragement, and guidance for our changing world!
You can find our new 1st & 2nd Thessalonians journals in our online store!!! Thanks, in advance for supporting our ministry and helping us reach more women around the world through our translations! We can’t do this without YOU!!!