Jesus taught his followers a new way to treat people. Usually when people hurt you, you want to hurt them back. If people don’t like you, you don’t like them either. But Jesus tells us to love our enemies. It’s never easy but Jesus can help you. If you do good to your enemies you could change your life and theirs forever. – Avery (right before her 6th birthday), quoting one of her children’s devotional books.
I came across this piece of paper a few weeks back and had to share it. As I busily cleaned the house one day, my daughter, Avery, decided to grab her “devo” and copy down one of its entries. This is what I found. Now, I don’t know if her selection was intentional or not, but out of the 365 entries in her book, she chose this one, and of course, you all know how I feel about this subject matter.
I’ve written on this topic many times before, but I thought you may benefit from the simplicity of what Avery copied down. Though I never intend to, I usually make things more complicated than they need to be, but loving our enemies doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s pretty cut and dry. As this text says, Jesus taught us to live life differently. The world and our flesh tell us to hate those who hate us. To seek revenge against those who hurt us. But what if there’s a better way?
I love what Martin Luther King Jr. once said. He said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Isn’t that the truth.
I’ve been talking to my girls about darkness and light lately. About good and evil. God and Satan. And wanting to make Dr. King’s quote more real, I decided to do a little exercise with them.
“Hey girls come here,” I called enthusiastically. They came quickly, and I ushered them into my walk-in closet with me. “Wanna see something?” I asked.
They looked at me, eyes sparkling with wonder. “Yea.”
I closed the door. “It’s dark, isn’t it?”
“Well, watch this, ” I said, turning on the light.
They looked at me, puzzled.
“What happened?” I asked.
“The light came on.”
“Yes! Watch again.” I turned the light off. “It’s dark. What happens to the darkness when we turn on the light?” I asked, turning on the light once again.
“It goes away!” They said.
“Yes! Darkness goes away when light comes!”
How simple this truth is. We fight darkness through light, not through darkness. Romans 12:14-21 backs this truth. It says,
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 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.
That last verse is the one that stuck with me throughout my interaction with Anthony, the man who murdered my dad. And I, for one, can attest to the fact that light does indeed drive out darkness. I have seen just that. I have felt the temptation to fight darkness with darkness, but by the grace I was given, I chose instead to fight the way God told me to, and you know what? It worked!
Turns out, light does indeed cast away darkness.
Next time you’re faced with darkness, choose light as your weapon of choice, and you’re sure to see victory. Remember, we overcome evil with good.
Have you seen light drive out darkness in your life? What’s your story? Share in the comments.