A holy man said, "it is my nature to save, and must I change my nature because the scorpion does not change its nature?"
How to Punish Your Enemy…in a Christlike Way (Proverb 25:21-22)
A reporter was interviewing an old man on his 100th birthday. "What are you most proud of?" he asked. "Well," said the man, "I don't have an enemy in the world." "What a beautiful thought! How inspirational!" said the reporter. "Yep," added the centenarian, "outlived every last one of them."
A parable: A man was engaged in his morning meditation under a tree whose roots stretched out over the riverbank. During his meditation he noticed that the river was rising, and a scorpion caught in the roots was about to drown. He crawled out on the roots and reached down to free the scorpion, but every time he did so, the scorpion struck back at him. An observer came along and said to the holy man, "Don't you know that's a scorpion, and it's in the nature of a scorpion to want to sting?" To which the man replied, 'That may well be, but it is my nature to save, and must I change my nature because the scorpion does not change its nature?"
“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty give him water to drink. For so you will heap coals of fire on his head and the Lord will reward you.” Proverbs 25: 21-22
We often hear people talk about “getting even with their enemies" but the Christian way goes well beyond just “getting even”, it describes an appropriate, powerful and effectual punishment.
CHRISTIANS MAY HAVE ENEMIES…BUT SHOULD NEVER BE ONE!
Paul had many enemies. Some were Jews; some were pagans; and tragically, some were professing Christians who were leaders in some of the churches he had established. Consider Paul’s declaration to Timothy regarding the persecutions that he endured at the hands of his enemies.
“But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra---what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” II Timothy 3:10-12.
Also we need to consider the word spoken by our Lord to His disciples: “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” John 15: 20b
THE WORLD’S APPROACH TO THE "ENEMY PROBLEM"
The most common approach seems to be: “Do unto others as they do unto you!” Some would even say: “Before they do unto you.”
Under the law, the command was: “Then you shall do to him just as he intended to do to his brother.” Deuteronomy 19:19.
But the Christian is to be reminded that we are not under the law but under grace and that forgiveness…not retribution…should be the guiding principle of our life.
GOD’S WAY IS:
Unique because its concept is absolutely alien to the natural man.
Magnanimous: (“elevated above what is low, mean, or ungenerous. Exhibiting nobleness of soul.”)
Effective: in volume (“heap”); in intensity (“coals of fire"); and in exposure (“upon his head”).
Rewarding: (in four distinct ways):
1. A clear conscience before God because you have been obedient to God’s will as set forth in Romans 12:21: “Be not overcome by evil. But overcome evil with good.” An enhanced respect for one’s self
2. Greater respect from your fellowman.
3. A heavenly reward: “…and the Lord will reward you.” “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted the prophets so were before you,” Matthew 5:12
4. It is God-honoring because it leaves judgment and punishment in the hands of God. Paul made this quite clear when he wrote: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saithe the Lord.” Romans 12:19.
DEAR CHRISTIAN FRIEND, DO YOU NOT AGREE THAT THE CHRISTIAN WAY TO PUNISH YOUR ENEMIES IS FAR MORE EFFECTIVE….AND CHRIST-HONORING….THAN TAKING JUDGMENT INTO YOUR OWN HANDS?
John 13:35 “By this people will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”