Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Live, Let Go, and Let Live!
The story I’m about to tell you is true; it happened over a decade ago.
There was a woman my mother and I once knew: Mrs. A, a widow with two children.
No, her husband didn’t die. He had an affair with another woman and divorced Mrs. A before marrying his mistress and settling down in another city.
As would any betrayed (ex)-wife, Mrs. A was deeply hurt and drowned in bitterness. In her hatred and anger, she cursed the other woman, praying that God would strike her ex-husband’s second wife with an illness as lethal as cancer.
She then occupied herself with work, bringing up two kids on her own and getting involved in Christian ministries as a faithful church-goer. Years turned into decades, as she waited, waited, and waited for God to fulfill the curse she cast upon the other woman.
Mrs. A passed away due to breast cancer in her early fifties!
You might feel a slight chill running down your spine after reading this.
You might even be thinking, “Did the curse backfire on her?”
Well, scientifically speaking, medical researches have shown that nurturing bitterness is a fine way of triggering the onset of malignant cell growth in the human body. Cancer is basically the mutation of healthy body cells into malignant ones through certain triggering factors, such as radioactivity, carcinogenic agents, and distress.
As mentioned in Cancer Helps, distress is an emotional state that disturbs the body's cellular balance. When we are constantly in distress, this state potentially incites our body cells to turn hyperactive and malignant, triggering the onset of cancer.
Biblically speaking, let’s read what our Lord said in Matthew 6:44, “I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
It sounds quite impossible to apply in daily life, doesn’t it?
Nonetheless, this is not an admonition. It’s a command!
Apostle Paul was the man who followed this command to his last breath, and he had proven that the Lord’s word is not impossible to perform. If it were, surely Paul wouldn’t say, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ!”
In his letter to the Romans, he explained on how to behave like a Christian, “Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse!”
Again, he wrote, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men,” and “do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore, if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink; for in so doing, you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Paul was elaborating Lord Jesus's command to love our enemies and do good to those who did us wrong. Simply speaking, the apostle was filling up the details for us to practice kindness – not bitterness – toward others, and our enemies in particular.
Thus, we can conclude:
• Loving others, even those who hate and mistreat us, is God’s command for us to perform. We cannot be justified before Him by living against this command, no matter how much and how great the service and faithfulness we offer Him in return.
Honestly, we can’t bribe God!
• Human vengeance is basically an act of rebellion against God’s supreme control over the universe.
We might wonder why God said, “Vengeance is Mine.” We are the ones who are wronged (not Him!), surely we have the right to avenge ourselves!
Uhm, not really.
Let’s put it this way, through a more universal perspective: when something wrong happens in the universe, it means that one of God’s law had been broken. As a result, an imbalance take place (we see this whenever evil seems to triumph over good; we can read Asaph’s complaint in Psalm 73 and Habakkuk’s groaning in the first chapter of his book concerning this).
Nevertheless, however dire and long-lasting the imbalance might be, there is another law that God had set since the beginning of time. It’s called the law of sowing and reaping.
The law of balance.
Whatever imbalance taking place in the universe must sooner or later right itself (to the Greek, it’s known as “nemesis”), and God always provides the agent(s) of righting the imbalance and restoring the universe to its previous, balanced state – without interference from our part.
Thus, we see that vengeance is purely and solely prerogative to God.
Who are we to challenge His sovereignty?
• Yes, it’s true. It’s much easier to curse and hate those who despise us and did us wrong.
But, then again, try viewing it this way: what good does cursing and hating bring us? By doing so, aren't we simply proving that we’re no better than they are?
The Lord’s wisdom stands!
o Bless those who curse you.
Perhaps, after being blessed, they would change and stop being so hostile toward us.
o Do good to those who hate you.
Maybe their wrong impression would alter afterward, and – who knows? – we might even be friends or allies.
o Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much,” wrote Apostle James. It’s very possible that through the prayer of faith, God opens the eyes of those who persecute us, so they’ll gain a brand new insight and follow the Lord’s way in uprightness.
In short, bitterness, hatred, and vengeance truly don’t pay.
Live and let go – and let live!