His careless style of driving nearly put us in a ditch. There we were on our way to town, when out of nowhere came the fancy red mustang weaving in and out of both lanes while maintaining a speed much above the posted limit. I glanced over as the flash of red passed me, just in time to realize he’s coming into my lane before clearing our car! My spectacular show of driving skills would have made Jeff Gordon drool. Okay, Okay! I hit the brakes and pulled over into the emergency lane.
My immediate response was, “Follow that car!” So I did. Fortunately, he wheeled into a minute market just up the road. Now’s my chance!
I approached the driver’s side door before he could get out of his vehicle. He rolled down his window with a frustrated look of anger for my bothering him. I said, “Hi friend, my wife and I would like for you to have this fifty dollar gift certificate to Red Lobster.”
Think this sounds absurd? Writing me off as one of those whose elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top? Take caution before doing so. What if I told you followers of Jesus Christ are commanded to respond in this manner?
In the days when Paul penned his letter to the Romans, believers were facing trials much greater than being cut off in traffic. Their property was being stolen from them, their children were being kidnapped and sold into slavery, and they were literally being killed for their faith in Jesus Christ.
So when Paul wrote to encourage them, how did he do so? Did he see their great persecution and remind them a day was coming when they would find relief and comfort? Yes! But he also didn’t neglect to tell them something else about their enemies.
He told them to bless and do good to those who were persecuting them. He told them to feed them and give them something to drink. He told them to love them and meet their needs. He said, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
Seriously Paul? Really! These people are being killed over here… and you want them to give grace in response for their persecution?
I’ll be honest. Commands like these don’t even make sense. Well, until I realize their purpose. Paul’s message here is, “Look like Jesus.” He is saying, “When the world won’t listen to Jesus, show Him to them.
Isn’t this just what Jesus did? When we were God’s enemies, always doing what brought glory to ourselves while robbing Him of it, sold into the slavery of our sin, how did He respond? He returned the good of grace for our evil. He laid down His life for us!
Loving those who offend us most is a privilege to reflect God’s grace to others, where it is needed. Blessing those who curse us is an opportunity to look like Jesus. So on your next trip to the restaurant, don’t forget the gift certificates.