Doctor: “I see you’re over a month late for your appointment. Don’t you know that nervous disorders require prompt and regular attention? What’s your excuse?”
Patient: “I was just following your orders, Doc.”
Doctor: “Following my orders? What are you talking about? I gave you no such order.”
Patient: “You told me to avoid people who irritate me.”
Unfortunately, we don’t always have the option of avoiding people who irritate, people who hurt us, people who offend us. In fact, sometimes those who irritate us the most are found right in our home (or in our church building). So how should we deal with them?
Milton Jones has written a wonderful book entitled “How to Love Someone You Can’t Stand” which I highly recommend (you can find it at Amazon.com). In this book, Jones lists six godly principles which are derived from Romans 12:
(1) Manage Your mouth — Bless and don’t curse (Rom. 12:14)
(2) Put yourself in the other person’s place and try to understand their feelings, thoughts and position (Rom. 12:15)
(3) Never, never, never take revenge (Rom. 12:17)
(4) Plan ahead to do something beautiful (Rom. 12:17)
(5) Don’t just win the war, win the peace (Rom. 12:18)
(6) Make room for God (Rom. 12:19)
The bottom line is that we do not overcome evil with evil by retaliating and seeking to “get even”. The only way to overcome evil is with good (Rom. 12:21). It is never easy to respond to those who do us wrong in a way that is godly, but it is only by following the example of Jesus Christ that we can truly have an influence on the world around us.
“But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps…” (I Peter 2:19-20)