Some say that Christ doesn’t make a difference – that Christians act the same way as others and that Christ doesn’t change lives. However, I know otherwise!
Anger and hatred are hurricanes that have the power to sweep away every defense. They are tyrants that override reason and even self-interest. Yet, I know that hatred is wrong. I even know that it torments its prey, tearing it apart.
I saw the hatred that was consuming me, but I seemed to be powerless against it. Even its “arguments” were persuasive. They felt so right. Hatred placed its own lens over my eyes, and I saw only red.
However, I remembered the Word of God:
- Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good… Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them… Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 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.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9, 14, 16 -21; ESV)
His Word came upon me with such force and conviction that it drove the hatred entirely away, the bully yelping helplessly as it fled. Instead, I was left rejoicing at the great privilege to love others, to “overcome evil with good.”
No wonder Scripture informs us that loving God is about embracing and obeying His teachings:
- If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:10-14)
Keeping His teachings is our cure, our protective shield and the source of blessings. It even rescues us from ourselves:
· Only be strong and very courageous [Joshua], being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:7-8)
No wonder that we are instructed to “meditate on it day and night.”
I am a man of many flaws, and they can be deeply troubling. However, I have learned something of even greater significance – that our Lord brings strength out of our ongoing weaknesses, even Paul’s:
- Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this [affliction], that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)
I too have learned to boast in my weaknesses. They continue to humble me, tromping upon my pride, drawing me closer to my Savior through His Word, which ministers so powerfully to me, through His blessed Spirit.
Yes, I continue to battle against my inner demons, and yet I am changed – a new creation! It is also through my weaknesses that I praise Him, all the more gladly and confidently.