“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But 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, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Mt. 5:43-48
A woman whom the Lord blessed me with as a friend and sister in the Lord some years ago shared with me what she did regarding her husband who apparently had for a good while made life very difficult for her given his behavior. She had a rough and raw way of speaking sometimes, but sometimes that’s exactly what some of us need to hear. Thanks to the message the Lord gave me through her and the way in which she spoke it to me, I can’t help but remember what she told me. And I hope this message will stick with you as well.
She told me she had “loved the hell out of” her husband, and that what we need to do with difficult people and relationships is “love the hell out of them.”
Though she was not speaking of literal hell and the lake of fire where all who don’t turn from their wicked ways and give their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord will end up, she was in fact speaking of the ungodly, unholy, unrighteous behaviors we sometimes come across in others’ behavior toward us as well as our own behavior when we’re not in the will of the Lord.
What exactly had she told me? That the way to handle people who act wrongly toward us is to show CHRIST’S LOVE to them! Not to seek revenge and lash out and hurt them in return, but to LOVE THEM and FORGIVE THEM and PRAY FOR THEM and HAVE MERCY ON THEM and GIVE TO THEM and BLESS THEM.
Clearly there are times the Spirit of God leads us to walk away from someone for safety’s sake, because He wants us elsewhere, because His plan for us doesn’t include that person, at least any longer, etc. But this is not what she was talking about.
She was with the man God had chosen to be her husband, and God wanted her to LOVE THE HELL OUT OF HIM. Not to fight back, but to LOVE BACK. Not to return his wrongdoing with wrongdoing but to respond to it with right doing. With righteousness. With the righteousness of Christ living inside her as His follower.
When the woman chose to love her husband no matter how he treated her, to the best of her ability given she like all of us is not perfect, God moved through her love for her husband and began to melt her husband’s heart. The Lord ultimately blessed their marriage immensely and ended up using her husband to touch countless lives in multiple countries in his service to Christ.
And, in the midst of it all, the woman hung on to the Lord, to the Bible, to her fellow Christ followers, and to knowing her job was to love the hell out of her husband.
Is the first verse above not a wonderful fit for this message? We should indeed overcome evil with good, and good above all else is Christ’s love and the way we walk in it and live in it and demonstrate it to the world around us no matter how others act.
In the other verses above, the Lord makes clear ways we are called to love the hell out of people. Always, friend, IN HIS LOVE. IN HIS STRENGTH. FOR HIS GLORY. Amen!