Be good to everyone????

be kinder to everyone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proverbs 17:13 (NLT)
If you repay good with evil, 
evil will never leave your house.

Most of us probably read this and cannot imagine it pertaining to us. We would never do something bad to someone who has been good to us! But, how many of us have experienced betrayal from someone that we invested ourselves into? A heartbreaking rift with the person we shared the most with? A total lack of appreciation from someone that we helped significantly?

There isn’t anyone that’s reached puberty that hasn’t felt that they’ve done good to someone who returned evil to them. Which means that there are probably a few people out there for every one of us that believe we are that person who did it to them. From their perspective, it is the absolute truth. Just like our stack of betrayal stories and bad turns from others is our truth.

I call those “ain’t it awful” stories. There are lots of categories of “ain’t it awful,” but one that EVERYONE has in common is being hurt or used by other people. Many of those stories are genuinely as awful as we remember them and were traumatic. Some were painful, but have become quite enlarged in our existence by the way we replay them in our thoughts and conversations. Others may have actually just sprung from heated misunderstandings that happened to coincide with a heap of other stressful things happening in one or both people’s day or season.

In the events where someone was hurt or offended by something we did or they thought we did, we know all of the context and influencing issues that resulted in our mis-perceived actions and what happened. It feels like it got blown out of proportion or misunderstood. It certainly doesn’t seem to us to have merited the brokenness that resulted. Sometimes, we know that we just blew it and did something that resulted in someone else’s pain. A purposed choice or a mistake. Painful fallout.

Very often, those are the very same thoughts and the rationale of the person we believe did evil in return for our good to them. We each think we are the victim and the other is the villain.

Not one of us doesn’t sit on BOTH sides of this. Not one of us.

Why go this direction with this particular verse? To keep us from brushing it off and pretending it could never apply to us. I’ve got my perceptions and they don’t necessarily match those of others. I need to remember that. We all need to remember that.

Bottom line is that it doesn’t matter. We need to stop finding fault with others and stop looking to vindicate ourselves. Let it go. Sow the seed of mercy. Forgiveness. It’s a seed we all need to sow generously because we all need the harvest of mercy back in abundance.

This verse is actually a proof of God’s great protection of us, His beloved children. He wants us conscious of not hurting people. He wants us purposely being good to everyone. Everyone. Even those who haven’t been good to us. Even when we’re mad. Even when we think they deserve it. It’s everything from the tiny things to the really, really big things.

We also need to purpose our focus. When someone does or has done something (or even lots of things) that hurt us, we need to put that mercy into play. Actively. Jesus said so.

Matthew 5:44-45 (NLT)

But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

Luke 6:27-36 (NLT)

27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

Romans 12:14 (NLT)

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.

One of the coolest things about this is that it takes away the ability of our perceptions – wrong or right – to affect the outcome of our actions and responses. We are good to those we believe have been good to us. We are good to those we believe have not been good to us. We are compassionate and loving and merciful and full of grace. That is such a good thing. No matter what. In the context of the warning of the verse in Proverbs, we are keeping evil from our own lives when we do this…because we are not relying on our emotions, perceptions, or experiences to decide who we will be good to and who we will not be good to. We choose to be good to everyone.

In the passage in Matthew, it references sunlight and rain being given by the Father to everyone. Just. Unjust. Right. Wrong. Evil. Good. Sunlight and rain are both good things. Loving things. Life-sustaining things. Pleasurable things.

That’s love. That’s compassion. That’s kind. That is being true children of our Father. That’s being like our Father.

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Testimonials

Several weeks ago I shared Debby’s words about transformation with the women at Whitworth Women’s Prison in Georgia. They were so excited to get it deep down in their spirit that God loves them and He adores them. I had the entire gym repeating it as loud as they could. I wish you could have heard them. Thank you, Debby, for sharing all that you do! What a blessing!
Tara Gazzuolo