God Says Respond to Unfairness with Love

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When people hurt you, they expect you to retaliate and seek revenge. But God wants you to do the exact opposite. He wants you to respond in love.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 NIV)

Unfairness is part of the human condition. You can’t live on this earth for long without feeling like someone has treated you unfairly. Maybe it’s a parent who put you through a miserable childhood. Maybe it’s an employer who treats you differently than your co-workers. Maybe you feel like you were treated unfairly by the legal process.

You can choose to respond to the people who hurt you by hurting them. That’s the easiest choice to make, no doubt about it.

But God gives us another option in His Word: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44 NIV).

When people hurt you, they expect you to retaliate. They expect you to seek revenge. But God wants you to do the exact opposite. He wants you to respond in love.

Respond to mistreatment with love, and you keep the other person from controlling you. Booker T. Washington once said, “I will never allow another man to control my life by allowing him to make me hate him.” You can’t control when another person treats you unfairly. You can control whether you get bitter in the process. You can control your response to injustice.

Just because you respond to an offender lovingly doesn’t mean you continue to allow injustice. On the contrary, we must lovingly seek justice. We must work for justice in the world without retaliating. The Bible commands us to “be fair-minded and just. Do what is right!” (Jeremiah 22:3a NLT, second edition)

Martin Luther King Jr. was a great example of this. He fought against injustice without violence. He overcame evil through the power of love. He followed the example of Jesus, who chose to forgive His persecutors even as they were killing Him.

That’s our calling as followers of Jesus. Unfairness and injustice may be part of the human condition, but we must not feed into it. Instead, God calls us to respond in love.

Talk It Over

What personal injustice in your life are you struggling to respond to in love? Why?

How do we allow others to control us when we hate them or harbor bitterness toward them?

What are some creative ways that your family or small group can respond to injustices in your community with the love of Jesus?

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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