How do you respond to those you feel have mistreated you? Do you lash out in anger? Are you hostile? Do you withdraw, cutting off all ties? Do you turn on yourself?
Such negative responses are very harmful to all involved, especially to you. They will only hinder reconciliation and may destroy your relationship altogether. You are allowing the other person to determine how you feel and act. This is very enslaving and will ruin your life.
Jesus teaches not to react negatively to others, but to act in love. He is the author of the Golden Rule: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them...” (Matthew 7:12). He said that the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (22:39).
Paul teaches what love looks like: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
If you walk in the Spirit you will bear the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:22-26).
You must make a conscious effort to remove the negative thoughts from your heart and to replace them with the positive attitudes of Christ: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15).
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135