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How to Respond When Mistreated

(2)

Sermon shared by Greg Hanson

August 2003
Summary: When a person mistreats you or performs evil against you, what is a positive way to respond? Why is it important that we respond this way?
Denomination: Wesleyan
Audience: Believer adults
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If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the person who did it.í But I say, donít resist an evil person! If you are slapped on the right cheek, turn the other, too. If you are ordered to court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.

I donít know if youíre aware of this or not, but in Roman society a soldier could order a non-Roman to carry his gear for a distance of one mile and the person had to do it. He didnít have to go one step further, but he would have to carry the gear for one full mile. So what Jesus is saying is go that one mile without complaining and then go ahead and carry their stuff beyond the requirement of the law. In fact, this is where the phrase ďgoing the extra mileĒ comes from.

Letís go a little further in Jesus words in Matthew 5Ö

Matthew 5:43-48 (NLT)
ďYou have heard that the law of Moses says, ĎLove your neighbourí and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.Ē

If your relationship with God really makes a difference in your life, itís going to be evident in the way you treat the people who treat you poorly. Itís easy to be nice to the people who treat you well. And itís easy to brag up your friends. But if youíre able to show love and compassion and forgiveness and generosity for the person you may even consider an enemy, and you can honestly and truly wish them well, itís a pretty God sign that Godís been working in your life.

How you respond speaks to your character, not theirs.



Just quickly as we finish up, let me outline for you four benefits of a positive response to the people who mistreat you:



Four Benefits of a Positive Response:



A. Itís good for your physical and spiritual health

We read earlier that Godís forgiveness for you is dependent on your willingness to forgive others. An unforgiving spirit is going to hold His forgiveness back, itís going to limit your own spiritual growth, and it will hold you in bondage. On the other hand, if you forgive others youíll be in a position to receive Godís forgiveness, it will spur on your spiritual growth and development, and you wonít be bound by that moment in the past when someone did you wrongÖ youíll be able to move beyond it. Thatís how itís good for you spiritually.

But I mentioned that itís also good for you physically. How?

PARTICIPATION

(ulcers, stress, tension, restlessness, insomnia, bitterness, peace of mindÖ)



B. It stops
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