How can you reward others with good when you have been rewarded with evil?
[Preached by Pastor Kenneth Chin at Acts Church Malaysia on 16 June 2019]
One of the tough things about being a Christian is that God calls us to reward others with good, even when they have rewarded us with wickedness. It goes against our human nature – how can we reward others with good when they don’t deserve it? Let’s take an example from King David, a man after God’s own heart and whom God loved dearly.
Read | 1 Samuel 24
King Saul had three thousand men looking to kill David. He made an excessive effort just to destroy one man. During the search, Saul went to a cave for a while to attend to his need, coincidentally, David and his men were also hidden in the cave.
This seems to be the perfect opportunity to take Saul down as he was caught in a moment of vulnerability. Those who were with David also advised him to kill Saul then and there, because it appeared that God had delivered their enemy directly into their hands, as to what God had promised. David cut off a corner of Saul’s robe and was about to do more harm, but God stirred his heart against it.
David had the maturity and self-control to hold on to God’s promises while still understanding God’s divine timing. He still referred to Saul as the Lord’s anointed, even though Saul was trying to kill him. He even bowed down before Saul and proclaimed how his hand will not be against Saul. And ultimately, he let God be the judge of Saul’s actions and made Saul realise his mistake.
1. See that the person is generally good.
We need to see with our physical and spiritual eyes. Learn to see others the way David saw Saul in verse nine. Whilst our tendency is to attack the person when they have committed evil against us, we have forgotten them as good people who were influenced by others.
Let’s reflect on this question: how much of what we think of others have been told to us by other people? We need to stop listening to others and start thinking for ourselves, instead, put on holiness and listen to the Holy Spirit.
How much of what we think of others have been told to us by other people?
David emphasised that someone told him to kill Saul but he decided to give Saul a chance. Because by doing so, David was giving himself a chance to do good. Comparably, Jesus was nailed on the cross by people whom He loved. Pontius Pilate sent him to the cross after listening to the crowd. Yet, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
Would we preach the gospel to people we don’t like – people who have wronged us? Even if we do preach the gospel to them, do we secretly hope that they don’t accept Christ? Who are we to judge who gets to go to heaven and who doesn’t?
2. See the God factor in the person.
David still acknowledged that Saul had been chosen as king before him. We might get angry at the people who wronged us, and get blinded to the fact that they need God too. We are all created in God’s image, whether Christian or not. Thus, we need to remember that in others and respect it.
Read | Proverbs 24:17-18
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.
There’s a way of man and a way of God. We will make our enemies cry, even repent, if we respond the way God intended for us to respond.
3. See the opportunity of not taking the opportunity.
In verse eleven, David conveyed to Saul that he chose not to hurt Saul in the cave when he could. There was another hidden opportunity within the obvious opportunity. God will present different opportunities to each of us, but the main point is to think long-term, on how we can remain a testimony to God.
When the opportunity comes, show others our heart, show them the God that we serve and show them Jesus’ love. Give people what they need, and not what they deserve.
Give people what they need, and not what they deserve.
God has shown us such tremendous love that we don’t deserve. How can we not give the same love to others?
4. See ourselves through the eyes of humility.
David was humble. He compared himself to a dead dog and a flea, even though he had already been anointed king. David knew his destiny of being the future king, and he knew Saul’s destiny. Yet, he still considered himself a lowly servant.
Arguments and fights can keep going when both parties won’t swallow their pride. Be the first to apologise. Humility is the key to being able to reward others with good when they don’t deserve it, because the act itself is different and radical.
5. Seeing the Lord… seeing us.
It’s all about seeing.
Perspective is what we see on the outside, which we can change our perspective by shifting the object on the outside. On the other hand, perception is what we see on the inside, which we can change our perception by shifting the objection on the inside.
When we are discipling someone, we can say a thousand “yes”, but what will be remembered is the one “no”, and the disciple might be angry at us for it but God sees and God knows. If He says it’s right, we’re in the right. If He says it’s wrong, then we need to apologise.
People are always going to tell us that we don’t do enough but let God be the judge. God is our witness. At the end of the day, we will make many mistakes throughout our lives and some people will never be pleased with us. But God is always watching and He sees our hearts.
David had the maturity and self-control to hold on to God’s promises while still understanding God’s divine timing.
Today is the day the Lord has made. This is the day to forgive someone, to do good and to see the bigger opportunity.
Written by Olivia Kristina
Edited by Hailey Chung