9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I remember a couple of older ladies speaking at a special church activity when I was young, before I received Jesus as my Savior. These two ladies spoke to us about how their husbands were speared to death as missionaries in the eastern Amazon by the isolated Huaorani tribe in Ecuador. They were a violent tribe with a history of killing others and their own people. A few years after their husbands were killed, Elisabeth and Valerie Elliot, the wife and daughter of Jim Elliot, and Rachel Saint, Nate Saints sister went to live at the same Huaorani village to show the people who had killed their family, God’s love and forgiveness. After a few years, five of the men who killed the missionaries and Mincaye, the leader of the tribe, received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Tribal life in the village was transformed and others eventually followed in faith in Jesus.
I remember listening to these ladies and thinking how outrageous their faith and forgiveness was, and I had mixed feelings about what I had heard. I remember thinking, why would anyone forgive someone who had killed their beloved family members. It didn’t make sense. I wrestled with those feelings for a few years. Then at Lakeside Bible Camp in Washington, I listened to Tom Shaw speak about God’s forgiveness for my sins, and my heart was opened up to God’s truth about blessing those who hurt you. With my family history, this truth changed my life.
Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Is there a relationship that you need to respond to evil with good?
What is the Holy Sprit saying to you through these scriptures?