Summary: Sometimes when your enemies treat you wrong, you try to get revenge. You would hurt those people who have hurt you. It may be that Jesus tells you to put your sword away. Some of you just need to put it in the scabbard, because God is going repay evil.
Please open your Bibles to the book of Romans 12. This is a great, great chapter. As I have been telling you, this chapter 12 of Romans is very practical. It teaches us about relationships. Since we’re going to finish chapter 12 today, I want to do a little review. The first few verses of chapter 12 is talking about our relationship with God. We’re to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. Then it talks about our relationship with ourselves. We shouldn’t think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Then it talks about our relationship with our church family, talks about spiritual gifts. And the circle keeps widening because it talks about our relationship to just people in general, how we’re to show hospitality, kindness.
Today, the circle gets a little bit wider, because it talks about how we are to deal with our enemies. And today’s message is, “How to Deal with Mean People.” If you don’t know ever know any mean people, you can get up and leave, because you don’t need this message. But if you ever have to deal with any mean people, this is the message for you.
Will Rogers, one of the greatest humorists in American history said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Can anybody say the same thing? How many of you believe Will Rogers? Some of you are saying, “Well, Will Rogers never met my boss,” or “Will Rogers never met my crazy cousin,” or some of you may be saying, “Will Rogers never met my husband.”
Somebody asked me, “This message, ‘How to Deal with Mean People,’ is it a message on marriage?” Well, it very well might be for some people, because it is all about how to deal with relational problems, when you’re in conflict with somebody.
Do you know that there are some mean people out there? Do you know any mean people? I want you to turn to your neighbor and say out loud, “I know some mean people.” Do that right now. “I know some mean people. I know some mean people.” If you do, this message is for you.
I heard about a lady that got on board a bus. She was carrying her baby, and the bus driver said, “Lady, that is the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen.” She didn’t know what to do, she paid her fare and went and sat down. But she was visibly upset. And the lady next to her said, “What’s wrong?” She said, “That bus driver just insulted me terribly and I don’t know what to do.” Well, the lady said, “You ought to get up and you ought to go give that bus driver a piece of your mind.” She said, “Here, let me hold your monkey. You go talk to him.”
There are just some mean folks out there. We’ve just got to live with them. You can’t ignore it. You can’t deny it. They’re out there. How are you going to deal with them? Well, the Bible gives us some great relational principles here. I want us to begin looking in chapter 12:17. And here’s how you deal with mean people.
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written [and this is what God says about himself in Deuteronomy]” God says, “It is mine to avenge. I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary, here is a quotation from Proverbs 25, “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. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Now, next week, starting in chapter 13, we’re going to talk about the relationship we have with our government, how we relate to that, because it is so very practical. Here we’re talking about how to deal with mean people, those people that we might call an enemy. Now, have you learned that you’re going to make some enemies throughout life? In fact, there is an English couplet that goes this way:
The man who has a thousand friends
Has not one friend to spare.
But the man who has one enemy
Will meet him everywhere.
Who is that person that you’ve already been thinking about for a few minutes in this message, that person you consider a mean person, somebody whom you just don’t like, you don’t get along with, there is a relational problem there? It may be your ex-spouse, because there are some of you in this room that your mate left you, forsook you, left you high and dry. And you just don’t like that person. Some of you were in business with somebody, and somebody did you dirty through a crooked business deal, and you resent that. You don’t like them. Some of you are having problems in your very family among family members or maybe a friend at school. Just somebody that did you dirty, insulted you, hurt you, and you don’t like that person. How are you going to deal with them?