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~Romans 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

It is not a natural thing for us to obey this verse. Our first reaction is to “get even”! But to the born-again believer with a new nature, it should be our first reaction.

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Our old nature that desires to sin, to bicker, etc. is the same nature that thinks we are right and everyone else is wrong. This same old nature is not willing to be taught that it is better to be at peace.  (Psalm 119:165) However, the new nature given to us at salvation does not need to yield itself to the reactions of the “old man.”

Granted, Paul’s letter to the Romans is talking about being persecuted for the faith. Remember Nero and how he persecuted the early Christians and many were martyred for their faith? We are not at that point in these United States … yet. But that time is coming! [Side note: I read in the news that a street preacher was being cursed by a Muslim for preaching about Christ and against the sin of sodomy.] The persecutions of faith that we see from day-to-day is that of family and friends who disagree with our relationship with Christ. They are religious but they do not have that relationship and, thus, do not understand why we are excited about our faith. (Luke 12:53)

It is in these persecutions that we must remember with what we are dealing. They need Christ – they need salvation (John 3:16) – they need to hear the blessed Gospel of mercy! (Ephesians 2:4)  How can they hear it if we are at odds with them? Can our boldness lead them in the opposite direction?  Must we point out their sin with hatred in our voices? Instead of approaching our family with a defensive attitude, how about showing them the Scriptures and letting the Holy Spirit of God do the convicting? Sometimes in our boldness we are passing judgment – we know we have reached that point when we get angry, rather than desiring to share the blessed Gospel with love for their lost souls. (Matthew 7:3) It is not for us to judge but for God and God alone.

~Psalm 50:6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.

Therefore, it is up to us to show Christ to our family and friends. Yes, Christ was not hesitant in pointing sin. But no where in Scriptures have I read where Christ put His finger in sinners’ faces and yelled at them. The only time I read about Him displaying anger was when he cleansed the temple. (Matthew 21:12-13) We need to remember that once we were as our lost family members and friends. In fact, we still sin. With this merciful approach, we can keep the doors of communication open. It is God’s holy word that will do the convicting, just as it did for us, amen?

When we rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us, He will place someone in our path that He wishes for us to speak to. When that opportunity presents itself, the Holy Spirit will prepare the heart of that person to hear what He would have you to say. When a heart is ready to hear the blessed Gospel, our words filled with mercy and grace will point them to the Cross and the Holy Spirit will be able to do His job!

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Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

How do we encourage a friend in need? How do we encourage a perfect stranger? The Apostles John, Paul and Peter penned the phrase “love one another” twelve times in the New Testament! I found this interesting, actually.

We should not have a judgmental attitude toward anyone for who are we to know that God has not placed this individual in our path just for the purpose of encouraging that dear soul? Job’s friends showed up when he had lost everything. Instead of encouraging him, they did the exact opposite!

~Job 6:27 Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend.

This is not the kind of person we should strive to be! We must make ourselves available to encourage those that Jesus puts in our lives. For what do you know about this person, really? They could be going through financial troubles – emotional problems – loneliness – etc. How can we help someone if we are judging?  Be ready to share Christ if they do not know Him.  Be ready to encourage them down the paths of righteousness if they have gone astray.

Whatever you do, leave yourself out of it and let the Holy Spirit guide you to be an encouragement to someone today!  What does it take?:  a smile, a hug, a note card, a phone call, sharing your time, sharing yourself!