This is Part 3 of 3 parts answering the question, “What Should Your Attitude Be Toward Those Who Cause Suffering?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?”
Bless Those Who Inflict Harm
Scripture is clear that we are to not seek vengeance! Peter wrote to those Christians who were scattered about the ancient world during a time of intense persecution and suffering,
8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. 11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers. (1 Pet. 3:8-12 NKJ; cf. Luke 6:28; Rom. 12:14)
We are called to be God’s channels to bless others in order to inherit an even greater blessing! So we will not resist God’s will or repay evil for evil when we are persecuted(Matt. 5:39; Rom. 12:17). We will not be afraid of those who are against us (Matt. 10:26,28), but instead love and pray for them (Matt. 5:44). Furthermore, God desires that we follow the Lord’s pattern that we not only forgive (Acts 7:60; Mark 11:25) but do good to them (Luke 6:27, 35). Just as God so loved the world that He sent HIs only begotten Son, our responsibility is to love others as He commanded, especially those in the household of faith,
34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 NKJ)
This He commanded, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12 NKJ; cf. John 15;17) These verses are focused on other Christians, but describe the attitude and actions we should have toward all people. That love will be expressed in many ways to bring glory to the Lord.
1) What attitude do you suppose resides in most people toward their inflictors? Why?
2) How difficult is it to grasp and “live out” the pattern that we see in the Lord Jesus?
3) How can God expect that we will ever live that attitude out in our lives?
4) What are the Divine resources available in order to put that attitude into practice?
5) How would you disciple someone who is struggling with vengeful thoughts toward another person?
1There may come a time when the people of a nation must stand up to tyrants in their own country as the colonists did when America was founded. Only after wise counsel, much prayer, and previous efforts to bring the government to its senses after a significant violation of constitutional principles would the people then have the right to correct the government through whatever means is available per the Constitution and Bill of Rights. That should not be considered flippantly or hastily, but only after all other means of correction have been attempted.