Sam’s youth leader at church came up with a great idea to encourage his junior high students to continue to seek God over Christmas break (when it’s easy to put God on the back burner). He asked each student to consider writing a devotional that would be put into a little booklet that would be printed and handed out before break. Each devotional will be written by 6th-8th graders that attend our youth ministry at church, and I can imagine it will be full of some cool stuff! The instructions for writing the devotional included……. 1) Find/read a passage/verse in the Bible…… 2) Write down what you observed, learned, understood from the passage/verse …….3) Write down a challenge for other students in how to apply this to life. Sam decided to take on the devotional challenge and wrote one! Hopefully you will appreciate his honesty as I did. Here is his devotional in the blue:
Friend drama - not so much. Girl drama - not so much. Enemy drama – ring, ring, ring we have a winner. There’s a boy at my school and he treats me like dirt. It is because he is jealous or because he likes to be a jerk I don’t know. But I always remember this passage:
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. On 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.
This means to me that if people say mean things and don’t treat you correctly just say “yeah, ok” and that will make them feel confused.
My challenge to other students is to be kind to your enemies at school.
Don’t you love getting a peek back into life as a junior higher? When this came up during our family devotional time the other night, we realized that each member of our family also struggles with this idea of loving those who mistreat us. For our family devo we were talking through 1 John 4:7-11 and how Jesus’ sacrifice for us should be the motivation for us to love others. Any small offense against us is nothing compared to the heap of sin and junk that we have stacked up against God and yet have been forgiven of through Jesus. We were thinking of reasons why we show that we are true disciples of Jesus if we love others. We spent a lot of time talking about how it is unnatural to love those who hate us, have mistreated us, or have spoken untruthfully about us. And yet, we all clearly felt the weight of these verses in that we should love others in the same way Christ loved us, and be willing to forgive...even our ‘enemies’. This is so hard. And unnatural. And not the way our world operates. And not exactly what you want to hear when you have a prideful heart. And have I mentioned unnatural? But, I love these verses that Sam picked, because I feel that they really highlight God’s fairness and justice.
When I was a little girl and had troubles with people at school I always remember my Grandma would say to me “kill ‘em with kindness”. When I was a big girl and having troubles with people at college I always remember my Grandma saying to me “kill ‘em with kindness”. During these times I was an unbeliever. And I never listened to what she said. In fact, I thought she was kind of old and out-dated to be telling me to be nice when I really wanted to ‘put people in their place’ for how they had mistreated me. But then one day, I decided to try out her wisdom in a situation. I went out of my way to ‘kill ‘em with kindness’ and wouldn’t you know it, when I was kind to my ‘enemy’, and forgiving, and purposely reached out to them despite my mistreatment, it went better for me. No bitterness grew up in my heart against them, and I didn't become consumed with the situation. At one point with one particular situation I saw this verse come to perfect fruition as my offender eventually came to me feeling the effects of these burning coals on their head. In guilt and displaying a sorrowful heart they asked for my forgiveness.
I’ve been on the other side of this too. I’ve had to seek the forgiveness from another who I mistreated. And the burden lifted from my shoulders when this person forgave me was something that I will never forget.
God’s way is always better. Even when it seems so strange and unnatural. Even when the world we live in tells us to behave a different way. Even when our prideful and selfish heart prods us to seek revenge. I love it that Sam is starting to be able to open up the scriptures and search for meaning and find hidden treasures. God’s wisdom is timeless and always applicable (and Grandma’s wisdom, born of God’s wisdom is too). :)