PRYOR, OK —
One day a little girl who was dressed in a beautiful white dress and white shoes was walking down a sidewalk with a bunch of flowers in her hand. As she approached a boy who was playing in his yard, to her utter surprise, the mischievous lad threw a handful of dirt at her, causing both her dress and her shoes to look filthy.
The young girl stood there speechless and stunned. At first, it looked like she would cry. But then, she smiled sweetly at the boy, and taking a flower from her bouquet, she handed it to him. Then she happily continued on her way.
The little girl’s reaction was certainly not what the young boy had expected. Now, he was the one who was stunned. I seriously doubt that he ever threw another handful of dirt at a girl. His life was changed because someone gave him a flower in exchange for a handful of dirt. We should be as wise as that young girl was.
When someone slings mud at us by saying bad things about us, how do we react? Do we reciprocate by saying bad things about them? Solomon wrote in Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” If we throw mud back and forth, everyone will eventually get dirty. But we can stop the whole process by giving flowers in exchange for dirt.
Paul advises in Romans 12:17-19, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
When a person tries to get even, he usually does not know when to stop. For example, when people hit us, we have a tendency to hit them back just a little harder than they hit us. Then their response is, “I didn’t hit you that hard,” and so they hit us again. But their two hits outweigh our one, and so we hit them back again. On and on it goes.
It is much better to leave the vengeance to God, who always knows best. And He is always fair. Rather than being concerned with getting revenge, we should put our energies into trying to get along peaceably with everyone (Romans 12:18).
Paul writes in Ephesians 4:31, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” Jesus teaches us that we should even be kind to our enemies. In Luke 6:27-28, He said, “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” Someone has well said that the best way to get rid of enemies is to make friends out of them. Paul says if your enemy is hungry, you should feed him. If he is thirsty, you should give him a drink (Romans 12:20).
You will be much happier if you react in this way. The young girl mentioned at the beginning of this article could have gone away angry and upset. But instead, she continued happily on her way. She didn’t allow someone else to make her unhappy. James 1:19-20 says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
In John 10:10, Jesus said that He came so that we may have life and have it more abundantly. His way of living brings happiness here, as well as life hereafter. Don’t allow Satan to convince you to return evil for evil. It will just make you feel miserable, and it might get you into lots of trouble. Instead, take the advice of Paul, who wrote in Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”