Many people experienced a lot of evil in their childhood, that is, ill-treatment and hatred from the people that they lived with! In my case, a particular example was way back in primary school when I lived in Schweizer-Reneke! I had my mum’s towel which I cherished so much and held dear to my heart because it always made me feel closer to her when we were apart! One day after school it was raining and I found that the cleaning lady had put my white towel on the door step for people to wipe their shoes before they got in the house! I picked it with the attempt to wash it and keep it clean but the cleaning lady came over to me, aggressively pushed my chest, and tried grabbing the towel which I was holding steadfastly onto! For a moment there we got into a mini-fight and she was handling me like I was her age! After that incident we went on long periods without talking to each other! She would dish up, call everyone to get their food and leave a plate full of pap, no gravy and half a chicken wing on the table for me! (Mind you it was my parents who were sending money for food). I had to get it because I was hungry! Day after day, month after month, year after year, eventually from an early age I was consumed by anger, hatred and bitterness! I could go on years without talking to somebody, I was always seeking revenge, I got happy when my enemies got hurt because that was the only side of life that I knew! I didn’t believe in goodness because people around me never were genuinely good to me! When Jesus came into my life He showed me another side of life, the good side which is not always easy! (You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Colossians3:8)
Evil circumstances do happen…
During my stay in Brandwag this year I had a housemate who was literally, for no apparent reason very angry at me! She cussed and banged doors when I passed by, she talked about me in an evil manner so that all the housemates disliked me! Once she had her bed mattress missing and she caused a riot in the house accusing me and saying before I came to that house there was no theft! Mind you, I found my room robbed and my door open! One evening after church she locked me outside and I gently knocked on her window requesting that she open for me! It was not very late, her TV was on, and yet she ignored me! I could feel anger building up within me as I knocked even harder until she eventually opened! When I got in she was giggling with her roommate! I had not been so angry in nine months!!! “Can you stand the test of time Titi!?” Can you resist temptation? Not only sexually, but the temptation to act in wrath when you are unfairly treated? (Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse! Roman 12:14). A true Christ’s follower was never called to do anything easy! Blessing somebody who hurts you when all you want to do is fight, revenge and get that anger out of your chest is not easy but God wants us to do it! When somebody goes all their way out to make my life miserable it’s prove that there is a devil out there that delights in seeing the children of God hurt! Bad people exist, bad circumstances do happen but you have a promise in Jesus! (I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world! John 16:33) Oh by the way, she found her mattress in another house mates bedroom!
Joel Osteen is one of my favorite preachers and one advice that I have taken from him is: “never let anyone steal your joy!” During such a circumstance, my joy was the only thing I could hold on to! I greeted and smiled with her the following day and made a decision that I will not take the things of yesterday and drag them to this new day! We cannot stop fire with fire that is why as a Christian you have to be the one who remains cool and keeps the peace! By doing this, you are setting yourself free, removing any hindrances to your prayer life and placing heaps of coal fire on your enemies head! They will burn in their own wrath and issue while you go on loving, smiling, giving and fulfilling your duty as a child of God!
Revenge is not too sweet…
My current housemates are on a serious noise competition which I find quite hilarious! The white guy against the colored guys! This is more of an anger issue than it is race! The coloured guys make noise and the white guy goes all out to prove that he can do it better! Any South African should know that you cannot fight a colored man, let alone a group of them! Once in the kitchen I was with the white guy and he was telling me how much they make noise and how he could do it better than them, and he’ll show them! I just wanted to tell him not to be overcome by evil but anger was written all over his face and his body! Revenge is not sweet at all, it makes you look ugly, bitter, and angry and that whole package that comes with evil! This is just a small example of how we are easily overcome by evil, nobody wants to be wrong, nobody wants to be the first to apologize, but for the sake of peace somebody has to do it! (Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. Romans 12:17). In a fight there is always a winner and a looser, in this case, the colored guys always win! They come back from partying in the early hours of the morning, shine their car lights bright on the white guy’s window and put their music on full blast, thus, waking us all in the house! I believe that if this guy could walk up to them, apologize for the times he was wrong, he would be the bigger person and actually win this whole “fight”! (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. Romans 12:20-21). Sometimes yes, we do have the power to revenge, we do have the right to get angry but we must learn to give all the power to God and He will see to it that justice prevails! (Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord! Romans 12:19).
Be the fool for God…
It’s not always comfortable being the one pursuing peace especially when you have every right to be angry at someone! Every time I fought with my sister in the past, she was always the first to ask for forgiveness! I felt superior then, but now that I think of it, this humbled me so much! We don’t see each other often and recalling her kindness usually gave me a guilty conscious! Yup, that’s what good does, it makes the other person guilty and shameful for the way they treated you! Unless they sort out that issue with the Lord, they will live with a guilty conscious every day of their lives! I had to ask God to wreck my heart, break, and re-mould me for all the years I had been angry and bitter towards people because I couldn’t live that way anymore! Obviously nine months is not long enough to fix a heart that has been bitter for many years so I die daily sometimes with fasting and unrelenting prayer! I am desperate to have all of my flesh crucified! When your enemy thinks that you are a fool when you pursue peace, know that you have your reward and here it is: “The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee; The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 60:14! For years and years it may feel like God doesn’t see you when you try to do the good thing like He commands you to, but nothing ever goes unnoticed in God’s eyes! God sees you and somebody will have to pay! Your enemy is laying down a foundation for his children, and the same children of your enemy will be the one bowing down before you one day! I don’t think any parent would like to see her child being under anybody’s mercy, but their actions prove otherwise! By being good, you are laying down a good foundation for your children too, likewise your enemy, and for future generations your enemies children will be bowing down at your children’s feet! Being good is worth it!
Although you have been forsaken and hated…I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. Isaiah 60:15
For somebody who was consumed by evil most of my life, I have found that letting go and letting God really freed me! I do not go to bed meditating on how somebody made me feel or what they did to me, but I am determined each day to always be the person who demonstrates the goodness of Jesus Christ! Not everybody is going to like you, not everybody is going to say the right things, and not everybody is going to treat you right, even those in the church, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, strive to always overcome evil with good! Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap! An evil man will reap evil and your goodness will not go by unnoticed by the father!