Martin Luther once said: “He whom you would change you must first love.” What are some Scriptures that reflect this idea?
How do you tend to respond to those who attack your Christian beliefs? Why is it important that our response be different from the way we’ve been treated?
Chuck Colson tells the story of Ron Greer, an ex-convict who was rehabilitated through Colson’s Prison Fellowship ministry. Greer, who became a pastor after serving his time, was once interrupted by a group of gay activists as he was conducting a church service. The activists were disrespectful and disruptive. They shouted obscenities and urinated on the restroom floors. They even went so far as to throw condoms on a prayer altar.
The pastor, who had preached that homosexual behavior contradicts the Bible, stood and smiled as the service-crashers carried on. Later, he was asked by the press why he didn’t get angry. Greer said, “I have no more reason to get angry with them than if a blind man stepped on my foot” (see Romans 12:14).
The pastor’s response reminds me of how Jesus responded even as He was being nailed to the cross by Roman soldiers. If there was ever a time to get angry and spew out some verbal venom, that was it. Instead, Jesus uttered this prayer: “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Like Jesus, this pastor recognized that those who verbally attack us—because of our beliefs—are often unaware. They say ugly things because they’re in a self-deceived state that leads them to oppose God and us. They are misguided souls in need of God’s grace and truth. And we must respond with love if we hope to win them over to Jesus and the truth that will set them free.
We should guard against getting defensive and angry at those who verbally attack us because of our beliefs. Getting mad and resorting to their harsh tactics is not the way of Jesus (Romans 12:17). Instead, we can honor Him by striving to “conquer evil by doing good” (Romans 12:21).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 Samuel 14:1-23
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