How Do You Fight Fire?


 Scripture: Romans 12:

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[d]says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
   "If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
   In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."[e] 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 9,10,11,12 – Passage Lookup – New International Version – BibleGateway.com

Observation: Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s right.  Doing what is right according to God’s plan is not always easy.

Application:  We all face antagonism and pressure from without as we travel down the road of life.  Some of us unfortunately seem to find conflict in practically every relationship we have, but even the best loved people and the humblest of persons will eventually run into someone that they just don’t get along well with.  So how do you deal with someone who you feel treats you badly? 

The world says things like, “You have to fight fire with fire,” and you have to “out fox a fox,” and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “The Bible says an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth!”  If you’re like me, you love it when people use that as a validation for their anger and vengeful actions, because then you get to tell them about Jesus’ idea of turning the other cheek. 

In our scripture this morning Paul is picking up on the turn the other cheek theme and sharing it with the Christians at Rome.  These were people who had the opportunity to quote the eye for an eye verse frequently.  They were persecuted not only by Jewish people who thought that Christianity was a perversion of their religion but also by the government who thought it to be a dangerous cult.  But Paul says, “17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[d]says the Lord.

I don’t know if this is something you find yourself struggling with regularly or not, I can only speak for myself and confess that I must often remember this teaching in order to hold back saying or doing the wrong things.  It’s not always easy to follow the will of God and to live a life of peace as Christ taught us.  But just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t mean it isn’t right. 

When Barney Fife came to Andy Taylor and asked him “How do you Fight Fire?”  Andy said “With a bucket of water.”  Some of the wisest teachings of the true Christian spirit can be found in the Andy Griffith Show – I’m a big fan.  :) 

This clip doesn’t have the exact quote from above but it’s from the same episode.  It’s about 10 mins long so if you have time.  Enjoy it.   Have a Blessed Day!

Prayer: Lord God,

Thank you for your grace and mercy and understanding.  When you could have taken vengeance on me and my actions, instead you have shown mercy.  Help me to do the same in my life when I encounter those who do me wrong or treat me badly.  Help me to be merciful as I have received your mercy.  Help me to be compassionate as I have received compassion.  And help me to find favor for those who show only hurtfulness toward me.

Love Michael

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