Summary: You say you abide in Christ, then be imitators of Christ.

Those of you who say you abide in Christ ought to make every effort to walk the path that he walked (1 John 2:6). "Since you are God's dear children, you must try to be like him" (Ephesians 5:1, GNT). To live as a Christ-follower is the promise we made when we embarked on this journey. When you said I believe in the Lord, you accepted His Way and His Truth.

Now is an excellent time to let go of any vengeful spirit and "Ask God to bless anyone who curses you and pray for everyone who is cruel to you" (Luke 6:28, CEV). Please do not wait for tomorrow, do it now! Repent, and never say, I will repay evil, or I will get even with her or him. You believe God is love, then know this. Love is not cynical, and God takes no pleasure in verbal or physical attacks, slander, or abuse on others. You do not want any of these things done to you; do not rejoice when done to others.

What is your first inclination when someone attacks you? Will you stand, even when someone pours evil on your person, or will you use the circumstance as an opportunity to seek vengeance. Will you be like Stephen, who was calling on God as his people stoned him to death. Stephen used his last breath to cry out in a loud voice, "Lord do not charge them with this sin" (Acts 7:60, NKJV). Open your mind and hear the will of God and see the opportunity to express love and forgiveness, not revenge.

Throw off the remaining remnants of your old self and bless your enemies, do not curse. We understand dark desires for revenge. At one time or another, we have all been in that dark place. However, we also know that the Scriptures teach us to guard against getting satisfaction from retaliatory acts. LOVE guards and shreds. It removes those disturbing feelings and traces of jealousy that so quickly plots revenge. Joseph's brothers were jealous of their father's love for Joseph, and their hatred grew into an evil plot to take his life.

Remember, "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth" (1 Corinthians 13:6, NIV). In truth, Joseph had no control over his father's actions or favoritism. How often do you find yourself hating someone who is just an innocent bystander? Remember, Christians who practice godly love do not speak evil of anyone; they avoid quarreling and are courteous to all. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul gives us quite a list of what love does and does not do. Now it is up to us to be thoughtful and look inside ourselves and make sure we are following a faith that not only preaches but practices the love of God.

If we find we have thoughts like Joseph's brothers, then we are not closely following the Way and the Truth or abiding in the love that Christ showed when He died on Calvary for our sins. Think about the love that Paul talks about in First Corinthians chapter 13 and reexamine your connection to the Lord.

What shall we say then? "Don't be hateful and insult people just because they are hateful and insult you. Instead, treat everyone with kindness. You are God's chosen ones, and he will bless you. The Scriptures say, "Do you really love life? Do you want to be happy? Then stop saying cruel things and quit telling lies" (1 Peter 3:9-10, CEV).

We must do our part to keep our tongues from evil and our lips from deceitful speech. Love life and see the good in others. What if we allow the love that Paul talks about to live boldly in us?