Reverse the Cycle

Cycle

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord .

Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:9-21 NLT)

Evil. Harmful. Wrong. Damaging. Injurious. Pernicious.

Life can be a vicious cycle, and can have a person running from issue to issue, crisis to crisis. I have known people, perhaps you have also, who aren’t “happy” unless they are fussing with someone, or not speaking with another; they seem to enjoy playing the victim. They carry on like they’ve been rejected by the last person on earth. Either someone has done them wrong, taken advantage of them, or they’ve been ignored completely. They show affection to loved ones but get mad when that affection isn’t reciprocated. They don’t know how to listen to someone’s pain or praise report; instead they feel the need to “one up them”. You know the ones. Your pain never is as bad as they’ve had. Blessings you’ve received never quite measure up to theirs. They can’t just say “thank you” for something you’ve done for them. No, they always have to pay you back, “get even”. They see themselves as real helpers, givers, lovers; but never recognize “giving” and “loving” with attached “strings” isn’t giving or loving at all. It’s “trading”; and with trading everything has to be even. Which means, someone may end up feeling cheated.

This kind of behavior isn’t cute, and it’s not just a nuisance. It is destructive to individuals, families, churches and the Kingdom of God. It is evil!

Evil. Harmful. Wrong. Damaging. Injurious. Pernicious.

We have a responsibility, a command, to NOT be overcome by evil, or evil ways. Instead, we are told to overcome evil with GOOD.

Okay, so what’s good? Where do we find the good to overcome evil?

Well, God is good, and His mercy endures forever! He has an abundance of good for whoever asks Him. “Every good and perfect gift comes from above”, and, “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…”, James wrote. Wisdom to handle any temptation, any desire for revenge, any urge to curse and retaliate. So the first part in overcoming evil with good is ask God for help and wisdom. Help and wisdom is good. I’ll put it another way.

We must RECOGNIZE the temptation to jump back into the vicious cycle.

The next part can be as easy as it is difficult. What I mean is, it may be hard to get started but can become easy the more you do it.

REVERSE the cycle, is the second part. Doing the opposite of what you feel like doing! For instance, someone slighted you, offended you, treated you dirty. Instead of cursing them, bless them in the Name of Jesus. Instead of showing them hatred, show them love. Go out of your way to give into their life, with no strings attached, and no record-keeping of wrongs. REVERSE the cycle of evil reaction and evil manipulation. REVERSE the urge to get even. REVERSE the desire to control others. REVERSE the cycle and live free!

God never instructed us to love sin or hate good. We should ALWAYS hate what He hates and love what He loves. Let love be without hypocrisy. Work hard and serve God with enthusiasm. Be patient when trouble comes, and keep on praying. Be ready to help anyone with a need, and practice good hospitality. All that is fairly easy to do, until someone does us wrong!

That’s when it’s important for us to RECOGNIZE and REVERSE!

Persecuted? Don’t try to get even. Get God involved by asking God to bless them.

REVERSE the cycle!

Has an “enemy” stolen from you, slandered you, embarrassed you? Invite them to dinner!

REVERSE the cycle!

This is exactly what Jesus did, and it’s exactly what we need to do!

RECOGNIZE the temptation and REVERSE the cycle.

“Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Christ.” 1 John 5