Getting Even?

 

(Lev 19:17-18 NIV)"'Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt. {18} "'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

 

There is a lot to learn and apply in these two verses.

 

1.      Do not hate your brother in your heart.

This is not just unhappy about something your brother did or did not do. And it is not saying you must accept whatever your brother might have done. In fact it isnít even talking about just your brother. It would apply to anyone with a close relationship to you. There are a lot of things that can be hated but people are not one of those things! Evil can and should be hated but remember this scripture and then consider hating your brother.

*†† (John 3:16 NIV)"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Do you really want to hate that which god loved so much?

 

2.      Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.

This requires a great deal of courage and honesty and love. Letís toss in wisdom and discernment. Perhaps the most obvious understanding is to speak clearly to your neighbor with loving concern lest you minimize the situation and thus become part of the problem. Or even encourage your neighbor to continue in whatever guilt he has. And that in turn can become a stumbling block to others. Clear language does not mean hostile language. Remember this scripture.

*†† (Prov 15:1 NIV)A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

If you are not careful you can become part of the problem and make things worse.

 

3.      'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people

This makes me think of the old adage about disciplining a child when angry. Revenge is mostly about ego satisfaction, not about justice or correction. The results of revenge frequently are regretted later on. Itís OK to want to see justice done but itís not OK to repay evil with evil.

*†† (1 Pet 3:9 NIV)Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

The Bible teaches us that we reap what we sow. Do you want to hold a grudge? Does it do you any good? Most likely the one you harm will be yourself and those you love.

 

4.      But love your neighbor as yourself.

The Bible talks a lot about LOVE. And rightly so because God is LOVE! There is an entire chapter dedicated to love. That chapter deserves study and memorization and application. It is the answer to many of the problems we face. We all know itís true. Dionne Warwick sang a song about love that we all know and the songwriter was Burt Bacharach. Neither one is known for their great Bible knowledge. Let me read two things to you. I will start with the lyrics to the song by Bacharach and Warwick and end with the love chapter I mentioned earlier.

 

What the World Needs Now is Love

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.
Lord, we don't need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.
Lord, we don't need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, lord, if you want to know.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.
No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.

 

And here is the LOVE chapter from the Bible

*†† (1 Cor 13 NIV)If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. {2} If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. {3} If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. {4} Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. {5} It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. {6} Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. {7} It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. {8} Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. {9} For we know in part and we prophesy in part, {10} but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. {11} When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. {12} Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. {13} And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

The very last sentence in the two verses we have been talking about is this. ďI am the LORD.Ē That means, what was just said is important. Why? Because God said it. He also made love an identifying attribute of the true Christian when He saidÖ

*†† (John 13:35 NIV)By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

 

Now go out there and be the lover God wants you to be! Itís the best way to, ďGet Even.Ē