LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR: PART VIIANGER AND HURT
1. God wants us to love others with the same love He loves us with, and in the same way He loved us. John 13:34,35; Eph 5:2
2. We have stated these main points about the love we are to love others with.
a. This love is not a feeling (an emotional love), but rather an action we take based on a decision we make to treat people the way God tells us to.
b. God gives us two basic instructions about how to treat others.
1. One positive = Treat people the way you want to be treated. Matt 7:12
2. One negative = Don’t return evil for evil. I Thess 5:15
c. This love gives up the right to get even or get revenge. It forgives all for everything. It treats people who hurt us, not as they deserve, but as we want to be treated and as God has treated us.
d. This love thinks rather than feels or reacts. I Cor 13:1–If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love [that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for us and in us], I am only a noisy going or a clanging symbol. (Amp)
e. We can love like this because, as new creatures, we have God’s love in us, and the example of His love. Rom 5:5; Eph 5:2; John 15:5; Gal 5:22
3. Loving like this would be easy if we lived on a desert island.
a. But, we must interact with people who say and do things we don’t like.
b. And, we are commanded by God to love the unlovable and love the lovable when they are not lovable.
4. Interaction with people produces two main negative reactions in us when things don’t go as we wish = hurt and anger.
a. When we are hurt or angry, our human nature wants to retaliate and get revenge — both of which God tells us not to do. Matt 5:39-44
b. Revenge, retaliation = anything we do (from minor to major) to hurt someone or pay them back because we are hurt or bothered.
5. God tells us not to return evil for evil (retaliate) for two reasons.
a. We are to imitate (demonstrate) God, and He doesn’t return evil for evil.
b. Revenge brings destruction into our lives. If we sow to the (selfish) flesh, we’ll reap corruption. Gal 6:7,8
6. We are to live and walk by faith. Faith works by love. Gal 5:6
a. How strong and how effective our faith is, is directly related to love.
b. How much we know of God’s love for us, and how much we love others.
7. In this lesson, we want to deal further with how to walk in love when people hurt us and make us angry.
1. But, you can exercise self-control and keep emotions from driving you to sin.
2. You sin when you step out of love. You step out of love when you do to someone what you would not want done to you. (Usually involves our mouth.)
3. The key to self control is gaining control of your mouth. James 1:19; James 3:2
4. We control our mouths with praise. We thank and praise God for people out of obedience to God. Ps 34:1; I Tim 2:1; I Thess 5:18; Eph 5:20; Rom 8:28
5. Once you get your anger or hurt under control so that you don’t lash out, you can begin to change what you are feeling by changing what you are thinking.
a. Emotions are produced by what we think about what is happening to us. b. You change what you are thinking by changing what you are saying.
6. In the story of David and Nabal, Abigail did that to, for David. I Sam 25:1-39
a. She brought peace to the situation by what she said to David.
b. My husband is a fool. I didn’t see your messengers. You don’t want innocent blood on your hands when you become king, etc.
c. David could have done that for himself, and should have!! Us, too!!
1. One major key is how you look at things — your perspective.
a. The natural view of difficult, hurtful situations is: the most important thing in this situation is how I feel, my rights, what is best for me.
b. For a Christian, the most important thing in the situation is: what honors God and what will bring glory to Him in this situation. I Cor 6:19,20
2. A Christian no longer lives for self, but for God. Isa 53:6; II Cor 5:15; Matt 16:24
a. Our primary goal in everything should be: How can I honor God?
b. The greatest honor we can bring Him is to reflect His glory by acting like Him through His power in us. Matt 5:16
c. Is that how you view every situation? If not, you need your mind renewed.
3. God wants us to be eager to love like He loves. I Cor 14:1–Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love — make it your aim, your great quest. (Amp)
a. Do you view your life — including this area — in terms of wanting to please God because you love Him and are grateful to Him for all He has done?
b. We express our love for God by obedience to His commands. John 14:21
4. How do you view people who anger you? As stupid idiots who ought to know better? As people put on this earth to make your life miserable? Or as people just as much in need of grace as you?
a. Matt 23:37,38; Luke 19:41-44–When Jesus looked at Jerusalem, the city that was rejecting Him and sending Him to the Cross, He wept over what was going to happen to them as a result of their actions.
b. Luke 23:34–As He hung on the Cross, Jesus realized they didn’t know what they were doing.
5. God’s promise to us is to work everything for good — including people wronging us, hurting us. That must be our perspective. Rom 8:28;31
a. Remember Jacob when his father-in-law cheated him. Gen 31:4-10;41,42 b. Joseph’s brothers did him evil, but God worked it for good. Gen 50:20
6. The second key that will help you love others even when they make you angry or hurt you is what you tell yourself. Is what you are telling yourself bringing peace to you and the situation or fueling your hurt and anger?
a. They can’t do that to me! How dare they! I’m always the one who does the giving! No one cares about me! He should know better! etc. etc.
b. If what you are telling yourself doesn’t enable you to love people as God commands, you need to change what you are telling yourself.
c. David and Nabal = he can’t do that to me; my food; my provisions, etc. Jesus = they don’t know what they are doing.
d. Love believes the best and then speaks it out. I Cor 13:7
1. To forgive means to forgo. It means to give up the right to get even, pay them back, or teach them a lesson.
2. When you forgive people, you decide to treat people a certain way, not because of what they have done, but in spite of what they have done.
3. Forgiveness is not an emotional issue — it is an issue of obedience.
a. God says forgive or give up your right to get even or get revenge.
b. It is an action you take based on a decision you make to treat someone not as they deserve, but as God has said.
4. God forgave us when we did not deserve it.
a. We have no right to withhold forgiveness from those who don’t deserve it. b. We are to obey our heavenly Father. We are to act like our Father.
5. How do you forgive? What are the mechanics of forgiveness?
a. You speak it out of your mouth — Father, I forgive this person for hurting me. I choose not to retaliate. I choose not to pay them back.
b. Note, this is a decision which leads to an action. This is not a feeling.
c. Note that you don’t necessarily have to talk face to face with them.
6. That’s the negative side of forgiveness, the “don’t return evil for evil” side, but there is a positive side to it — return a blessing for their evil.
7. I Pet 3:9–Never return evil for evil or insult for insult — scolding, tongue- lashing; berating; but on the contrary blessing — Praying for their welfare, happiness and protection, and truly pitying and loving them. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God] — obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection. (Amp)
a. After you choose not to retaliate, you pray for them — for their welfare, happiness, and protection.
b. I can’t!! No, you won’t. You are allowing your feelings to dominate you and determine your behavior rather than your spirit and God’s word.
8. We are supposed to let go of wrongs done to us.
a. I Cor 6:6,7–To have lawsuits at all is a real defeat for you as Christians. Why not just accept mistreatment and leave it at that. It would be far more honoring to the Lord to let yourselves be cheated. (Living)
b. II Tim 4:16–All of Paul’s friends deserted him at his trial, yet he prayed for mercy for them.
c. Luke 23:34–When Jesus hung on the Cross, He prayed for the very people who put Him there.
d. Acts 7:60–When Stephen was being stoned, he prayed for those doing it.
1. Great evil was done to Joseph by his brothers. Yet, we know that Joseph forgave his brothers.Gen 27:18-28
a. The names of his children tell us he forgave. Gen 41:50-52
1. You can’t have peace of mind, nor can you forget, unless you forgive. 2. Forgive=let it go, forget it; unforgiveness=hold on to it, keep it alive.
b. His behavior in Potiphar’s house tells us he forgave. Gen 39
1. He didn’t use his experience as an excuse to disobey God. v9
2. Unforgiveness keeps the focus of our lives on us and what was done to us rather than on God.
c. When Joseph had the chance, he did not get revenge on his brothers. Gen 42,43,44; 50:15-21
2. When Joseph was reunited with his brothers, he put them through a series of tests to see if they had changed. Notice several things from this. Gen 42,43,44
a. Joseph did have to forgive, forget (let it go), not retaliate, and be kind.
b. But, he did not automatically have to put himself in a position where his brothers could hurt him again.
c. What was done to Joseph was wicked, not minor; not imaginary.
d. If someone is untrustworthy, you can keep your distance, but pray for him, be kind to him if the opportunity presents itself. Don’t tell everyone.
3. II Tim 4:14,15–Paul warned Timothy about Alexander the coppersmith.
a. No hint of revenge in Paul’s words. This is the only place it is mentioned. b. He committed it to God, knowing God would take care of it.
4. In II Sam 16:5-13 when David was on the run from Absalom, Shimei cursed him and threw stones and dirt at him.
a. David wouldn’t let Abishai kill Shimei. v12–(David said) and perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses. (Living)
b. David has grown since the time of Nabal.
c. When Absalom was killed, and the rebellion ended, Shimei begged for mercy and David gave it to him. II Sam 19:16-23
d. David didn’t trust Shimei and warned Solomon about him. I Kings 2:8,9
e. Solomon confined him to Jerusalem on pain of death. I Kings 2:36-46
1. By walking in love, we don’t mean you must have warm fuzzies toward that person, nor does it mean you must pretend you aren’t hurt or angry.
2. To walk in love means you get control of your emotions so that you don’t retaliate, and then you treat that person the way you want to be treated.
a. When I hurt someone or make them angry, I don’t want them to lash out at me, get even, pay me back, teach me a lesson. I want them to forgive me, forget it, and give me another chance.
b. I want them to pray for me rather than curse me.
3. If we will obey God in this area and walk in love, we will find that the hurt and pain we have experienced will go — sooner or later — and we’ll be able to say with Joseph: God has made me to forget and God has made me fruitful.