Close

June 4, 1998

Retaliate with Love (Part One)

Share With Friends

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. PROVERBS 25:21-22
When someone hurts us, our initial reaction usually does not involve coming up with a list of ways we can help that person. Instead, we’re more inclined to come up with a plan to get him back, to seek revenge, to retaliate.
Such feelings are natural, but if we act on them, we only end up hurting ourselves even more. Proverbs 25:21-22 offers an amazing alternative—retaliate with love. “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink” (v. 21). It’s not exactly the kind of advice you’d expect to find in a book on how to get ahead in today’s cutthroat workplace, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant.
So how does such guidance translate into the modern work environment? Try these on for size. If a team member who stole your idea gets caught in a deadline crunch, help him finish the project. If a colleague who constantly puts down your work has a bad day, praise her in front of your boss. If a coworker who ridicules you for going to church has a family crisis, offer to pray for him. You get the picture?
Nobody said such action would be easy. It forces us to swallow our egos, our pride, and even our hurt feelings. It might make our other coworkers question our sanity. And it may not cause any change in our enemy’s behavior, at least not at first. But it is the right approach because it is God’s approach. Jesus made that clear in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
It was a new way of thinking then, and it is just as unusual in today’s culture. But as we will see tomorrow, it’s worth any trouble or discomfort it may cause us.

Share With Friends