We are moving into a new year. 2016 has gone by really quickly, and 2017 is just around the corner. As you can see, with the new year upon us, we have redesigned our newsletter. What better time to redesign and start fresh than the new year?
2016 has been a year of turmoil, anger, destruction, and violence in this country. It is my prayer that 2017 will not follow suit. And we have the power to make sure that it does not, at least in our own lives. I came across a picture on social media a couple of weeks ago that I had seen before, but for some reason this time it stuck out to me. It read, “I don’t care if you’re black, white, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, rich or poor. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Simple as that.”
On the surface, I like what it is saying. But for some reason when I saw it this time, something clicked. The person that shared it is a friend of mine that I know is a Christian. He truly tries to live his life following Jesus, which is something we can all strive for. When I saw it this time I realized that as Christians, we cannot put a condition on being nice to someone. We need to be nice, no matter how someone else is treating us.
Now I know that is not always possible, but it is something as Christ followers we need to be striving for. Paul writes in Romans 12:17-21, “17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
So we need to live at peace. That does not mean that we just roll over and let people walk all over us, but being nice to someone should not be prefaced by how they treat us first. We have to live by the principles of the Bible, and when we are confronted by someone who is wrong, we need to correct them, but it has to be in love. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes in chapter 16 verses 13 and 14; “13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.” So we are to stand firm in our faith, but do everything in love. I realize that is much harder said than done, but it really should not matter how someone is treating you for you to treat them in love (now I realize that pointing out to someone that they are going down a dangerous path could be the most loving thing you do).
If you examine the life of Jesus, you will find He was great at this. He confronted the Pharisees when they were wrong, but He was doing so to correct their thinking. Jesus did not retaliate (which He could have easily done) when they crucified Him.
What I am really trying to get at is this: we should treat everyone as nice as we can, regardless of how they are treating us. More importantly, however, we need to treat everyone in love. So as we enter 2017, change your thinking. No longer look at how we treat anyone with a conditional statement, “If you do this, then I will do this”. Make 2017 the year that we as Christians take steps to follow Jesus in an even greater way than we have before. Who knows, we might just see more people come to know our Savior! God Bless!
Thoughts From a Crosseyed Jesus Freak