Monday, January 31, 2011

February 1, 2011

"Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them."  Romans 12:14 

During the Korean war a certain military unit had hired a local boy to cook and clean for them. Being a bunch of jokesters, these guys soon took advantage of the boy’s seeming naiveté’.

· put little water buckets over the door so he’d get soaked when he opened the door

· ThThey’d smear Vaseline on the stove handles so that when he’d turn the stove on in the morning he’d get grease all over his fingers.

· They’d ey’d even nail his shoes to the floor during the night.

Day after day the young Korean took the brunt of their practical jokes without saying anything. There was no blame, no self-pity, no temper tantrums.

Finally the men felt guilty about what they were doing, so they sat down with the boy and said, “Look, we know these pranks aren’t funny for you, and we’re sorry. We’re never going to take advantage of you again.” It seemed too good to be true to the houseboy.

“No more sticky on stove?” he asked.


“No more water on door.”


“No more nail shoes to floor?”

“Nope, never again.”

“Okay” the boy said with a smile, “no more spit in soup.”

We chuckle at this story but let me ask you a serious question, "When you get even with someone, do you actually get even? And does it make you feel better?"

I think you know the answer to that question.

In the Bible, who do you think felt better, Peter who cut off a young man's ear in a valiant but vain effort to protect Jesus. But which one of them felt better in the end, Peter or Jesus, Who touched the young Roman and reattached his severed ear?

If your purpose is to overcome evil with good, how can you justify hurting someone just because they have hurt you? When you respond to evil with more evil, you are overcome with the evil. That disobeys God's command.

What if the next time you are hurt by someone you overcome that pain by showing grace rather than getting even? What if you do what Jesus did - you take the pain and give them the gain? How would that change your relationships? How would that shape your world? What would that do for your heart? More importantly, you would show the love of God in a powerful way! You would be acting on faith not feelings.

Is it time for you to stop spitting in the soup?

January 31, 2011

 "Bless those who hurt you. Bless them, and do not call down curses on them. Be joyful with those who are joyful. Be sad with those who are sad. Agree with each other. Don't be proud. Be willing to be a friend of people who aren't considered important. Don't think that you are better than others."    Romans 12:14-16

The news this morning concerns the turmoil and unrest in Egypt. As I flip the channels I see a sea of protesters crowding the streets of Cairo demanding the resignation of President Mubarak. It is on every network and major cable channels.

His response?

He is clamping down on the few freedoms the Egyptian people still had. That doesn't seem to be working for him.

Why would it? When people yearn for more freedom and you give them less, how does that have a chance?

There are two peace paradigms at work here. Understanding these are key to knowing why peace is so hard to achieve.

The totalitarian definition of peace is having no opposing ideas. Peace for them is total domination. When I am stronger than anyone else and when I have total control over everyone else, there is no conflict. That idea dates back to ancient times. It has been the predominant experience of human history. That is the crux of the struggle in Egypt.

There is another concept of peace that Romans 12 espouses and that has made the United States so exceptional for over two centuries. It is the idea of shared power. I will respect your freedom and you respect mine. Why would we do this?

Because we believe that rights and freedoms are God-given. In other words, we believe that God shared His freedom with us. If anyone could have had absolute power and authority it was Him! Our Founders understood this and through Diviine inspiration crafted a nation built upon the belief that people can govern themselves within a context of law, justice and freedom.

This amazing "experiment" of freedom has produced the greatest, strongest, most just, and most prosperous people who have ever lived. Because people have governed themselves relatively well for over two centuries, all the world has benefited from American wealth, generosity and strength.

But, this fundamental idea of self-government is under assault in our world today. Frankly, it is what drives the widening divide in our national politics today. There are those who do not believe the average American can govern himself and therefore must be cared for and controled by an expanded government. Opposing that view are those who strongly believe that limited government means more individual freedom and therefore, there must be a return to government being restricted by Constitutional laws. It is what spurs the conflict in Cairo, as well.

What does this have to do with Romans 12?


This powerful portion of divine truth shows how people can live together in love, peace and freedom. Peace is possible in the world to the extent peace is possible in the church. Freedom originates with God and His Church is to be the demonstration of what it looks like and how it works.

Let there be peace in church. Declare peace with God. Govern yourself with His Spirit. Guide yourself by His Word.