What to do when you are treated unjustly:
Mt 5:43 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
We live in a culture that promotes the idea of “looking out for # 1,” but the scriptures teach the exact opposite. Think of the story of Joseph who was treated unfairly by his older brothers and sold into slavery. Not long after that he ended up in prison because he was lied about. Joseph had a chance for revenge against his brothers but chose to have mercy and even testified that, “God meant it for good.” In Acts chapter 7 we find Stephen was being stoned to death, yet his response was, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”
In our text we see Christ is referring to a worldview idea or tradition in stating that “it hath been said.” Jesus had a greater lesson by saying, “but I say unto you.” Just for the record it is always better to go with what God’s Word says vs what you have heard! Here are a few simple thoughts on what to do when we are not treated right.
Love them anyway.
It is not difficult to love my children. Do I get frustrated with them? Absolutely! Who doesn’t? I truly believe in love at first sight when it came to the birth of my children. My instinct as a father is to love and protect them. Loving someone who would be considered an enemy is more difficult. Now for clarity’s sake the context of the scripture is referring to a person you have personally interacted with and has treated you wrong. The commandment from the Lord was to love them. Now we must acknowledge that is not easy to do. Most of the time when I counsel people on this scripture their response is something like, “well you don’t know what they have done to me,” or “you don’t know how they hurt me,” or “they don’t deserve it.” Nobody said they didn’t hurt you and nobody said they deserve it. We are speaking about matters of obedience to Christ. Doing the right thing is not always the easy thing to do but it is still the right thing. Christ simply said to love them despite what they have done to you.
Bless them from time to time
Ok so we know the Lord has ordered us to do something that’s not easy. Let’s be honest, we really don’t want to. Let me be even more honest, its because of our pride. Let me remind of you of something I read recently. “Pride is the only poison that is healthy for you when swallowed.” Now that is a tough pill to “swallow,” but since we have that out of the way it raises the question, how do we love them anyway? By blessing them from time to time. An example would be to send a simple word of encouragement to let them know you are praying for them. Even send them a random gift. Maybe send a gift and don’t sign your name to it. This is not primarily for their good as much as it is for your heart. One of the most humbling experiences I have had to endure was to send someone a gift that I did’t believe deserved it. I have literally left the post office in tears because it humbled me so much. I never regretted sending a gift or trying to be a blessing in some way but always walked away knowing it was the right thing to do. It really helped me to not let a “root of bitterness” spring up within me. How do we start to show brotherly love? Be a blessing however you can.
Go out of your way to be kind
You can be a blessing to someone and them never know it. I think you must have personal interaction to really show your kindness or “be good to them.” Being a blessing will be a good for your heart, being kind will be good for their spirit. It is letting them know even if unkind words word said, unkind deeds were done that it is not going to affect your character as a Christian. If you run into them at the store, my advice is to not avoid them but go out of your way to greet them and say hello. Again, then our flesh speaks up and says, “I am not doing that” Friend lets just go back and call it for the ugly thing it is, PRIDE! That’s the reason we say, “I can’t” or I should say “I won’t!” It is easy to be kind to those who are kind to you. It shows character and Christian love to be kind to those who have not been kind to you. In fact, Christ later in the same text referenced that is exact point.
Mt 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
It’s not impressive to say, “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” If you love, bless, are kind to your family and friends only there is no reward in that. The business world will even be kind to you when you are kind to them. Christians are kind to others especially when others are not kind to you.
Pray for them
Finally, Christ tells us to pray for them. I don’t believe that when Christ says, “pray for them” that he means, “Lord I pray you send vengeance upon them.” Remember that belongs to the Lord.
Ro 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
There are certain things in the scriptures that God said belonged to him. Vengeance is one of them. I do not advise getting into the practice of taking something that God says belongs to him. God said this tree is mine, don’t touch it! We then seen the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Because of the day we live in let me note that blasting someone on social media is taking vengeance. Let’s also not be fooled into thinking that because we didn’t mention their name that it’s ok. You put it out there because wanted them to know or get back around to them. Worse than that if you are completely honest with yourselves you know you intentions were not pure. If there is truly a problem with that brother or sister then let’s get back to doing the biblical method of restoration and “go to thy brother,” and not to social media or wherever else we choose to air our dirty laundry.
Friend pray for them out of a good heart. Pray sincerely for them. Pray that God bless them. Pray that God will open the doors to make things right. I’m not saying you must be best friends, I’m saying according to the scriptures to live peaceably.
Ro 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Before you say I have tried, make sure you followed the pattern given by Christ in this devotion.
None of us deserve to be treated like God has:
The truth is if we all got what we deserved God would have sent us straight to hell. The bible tells us there is there is “none that doeth good, no, not one.” In Romans 3:12. God has been good to us even when we didn’t deserve it. God has been gracious enough when we didn’t earn it. God has been merciful when we should have been punished. Let’s follow the lesson and example of Christ and treat people good, even when they have not treated us good.
For More Devotionals by Pastor Jaime Sicairos go to: