Thursday, September 26, 2013

Love Your Enemies: One Prisoner's Story of Risky Obedience

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘’I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord’ Instead, ‘If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.’ Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good” (Romans 12:19-21, NLT)

Just a picture
Roy Anthony Borges is a prison inmate who, becoming a Christian had some hard lessons to unlearn. All his life he had been taught to hate his enemies, particularly within prison walls. One of his most vexing enemies was Rodney, who stole his radio and headphones one day while Roy was playing volleyball in the prison yard. It was an expensive radio, a gift from his mother. The earphones had been a Christmas present from his sister. Roy was angry and wanted revenge, but as he prayed about it, it seemed to him that God was testing him.

Day after day, Roy wanted to respond violently, to knock the wisecrack grin off Rodney’s face, but Romans 12:20-21 kept coming to mind: Paul’s instruction to avoid vengeance, leaving it to God to settle the score. Roy began to look at Rodney through God’s eyes and have compassion on him. He began praying for him. He began trusting God to accomplish something in Rodney’s life.

By and by, Roy’s hatred for Rodney began fading, and he found himself helping his enemy and telling him about Jesus. Then one day, Roy later wrote, “I saw Rodney kneeling down next to his bunk reading his Bible, and I knew that good had overcome evil”*

To do evil for good is human corruption;
to do good for good is civil retribution;
but to do good for evil is Christian perfection” (Rev. William Secker)
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good

*Story above is taken from Roy Anthony Borges, “Love Your Enemies: One Prisoner’s Story of Risky Obedience,” Discipleship Journal, Issue 107, 42-43.
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