How To Respond When Someone Mistreats You
Handling mistreatment from others at work, church or home.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them... Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
What do you do? How should you respond when somebody close to you consistently mistreats you over and over again, whether it may be at work or at church or maybe even in your own home? In Romans 12, Paul gives us six clear steps on how to handle mistreatment.
Number one - Speak well of them and do not curse them
Paul says to "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them." (Romans 12:14) So as difficult as it is, try to find something positive that you can say about them, pray for them. Wish the best for them. And at the same time resist the temptation to ruin their reputation, slander them, gossip about them or say something negative about them.
Number two - Set an example for others to follow
Paul says here to "give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all." (Romans 12:17)So, the idea here is that when you and I are being mistreated and we respond by taking the high road and consistently seek the good of the other person, we are setting an example of tremendous Christian character for other people to follow.
Number three - Initiate peace
Paul says "if possible," (implying that in some situations it's not), "as far as it depends on you," (meaning you can't control the other person), "live peaceably with all." (Romans 12:18) So, the idea here is that even if the person you are in conflict with is wrong, God still calls us to be peacemakers and to do everything we can to initiate and seek the peace. So that if the relationship does not work, you can at least look back and say, “God, I did everything on my part to seek reconciliation.”
Number four - Leave room for God
Notice Paul says here, "never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God" (Romans 12:19). I believe that this verse implies that whenever we seek to get even ourselves, God takes his hands off of it and says, “Okay, if you think that you can handle this person better than I can, then you handle it!” Instead, he is challenging us to take our hands off of it because He clearly says that revenge does not belong to you; it belongs to Me. In doing so we are leaving room for God's wrath and trusting by faith that no mistreatment and no injustice escapes God's view and that God can handle this person much better than we can.
Number five - Do something good for them
Paul says, “To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.'” (Romans 12:20) When you do something good for somebody who doesn't deserve it, oftentimes your good actions will cause them to feel convicted and ashamed because they'll naturally compare their mistreatment of you to your good actions forcing them to come face-to-face with their own behavior.
Number six - Do not allow someone else to change your character
Paul says, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21) In other words, be careful not to allow someone else's evil, negative mistreatment of you turn you into an evil person all because you want to get revenge. In doing so, not only are you stooping to their level and becoming evil like them, but you are also giving somebody else control over your own emotions.
You may be in a very difficult situation right now, maybe at work or at church or maybe even in your own home. I want to encourage you today to consistently do what God is requiring of you and to trust God's Word because it works! By faith, resist the urge to get even, trusting that in God's timing he will not only bless you, but he will also deal with the person who is mistreating you.
Used with permission by Global Media Outreach from Allen Parr. This article was first published as a video on The Beat.
Pray this week:
Lord, I can’t do this on my own. Empower me and guide me by your Holy Spirit to overcome evil with good.
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