God expects us to think rightly toward others
"And let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart." (Zech 7:10b)
It seems that brothers and sisters are naturally good at annoying their siblings. It is natural to love our family members, but sometimes it is hard to like them. Brothers and sisters seem to know just the right buttons to push in order to annoy one another. Our God is not like that. Think about it. What would we think of God if He were the kind of God Who would say "devise evil against your brother"? Our God does not say that. No way! He says, "let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart"! God is holy, and He has an opinion about the secret thoughts you have toward your brothers and sisters.
Right now, you may have no desire to be "pals" with your brother or sister. When they grow older, though, brothers and sisters often become the closest of friends. You might never dream that you could be good friends as grown-ups, even if your family ends up spread out all over the country. In fact, you might think, "No way! Impossible!" When you are in the middle of an argument, you can think only of ways to get back at that brother or sister. You might even feel tempted to think of him or her as your enemy!
In His sovereign wisdom, God has placed us in the families and neighborhoods and churches where we live. We may not have perfect families. We may not even like some of our family members! But to spend time dreaming up ways to make them miserable--that is the opposite of God's command. When we do these things to the people God has put in our lives, it is like we are telling God that He made a mistake and that He should have given us better people to live with.
In our natural sinfulness, we react against people--especially if we believe they have hurt us or wronged us. If we think people deserve punishment, we want to deal it out to them. And we cannot change our minds about people on our own. Where does that kind of heart change come from? What helps brothers and sisters change from enemies into friends? It is not what, but Who: God changes our hearts. God shows us how much He loves us, and then He shows us how much we should love the people He has given us. God tells us in I John 4:20, " If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"
When we refuse to think evil toward others, we honor God for His wisdom and goodness. And He can help us think rightly toward one another. When God changes your heart, you will not want to spend your time thinking of ways to hurt people. Ask God to forgive you of sinful thoughts toward Him and others. God will change your heart and help you obey His word!
We honor and obey God when we think rightly toward others.
» Do I think of ways to get back at people?
» Do I ask for God's help to change my mind about others?
Truth In Real Life
“There is no success without sacrifice.”
He was three years old when he read an entire chapter of the Bible to his father. He was ten years old when he took navigation lessons. He was sixteen years old when he went to college. He was twenty years old when he trusted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
On August 9, 1788, Adoniram Judson was born in a worn-down wooden house in Malden, Massachusetts. From the time he was a little boy, he was more interested in reading than in playing with his friends. He intended to grow up and become a lawyer or a government official, and he was certainly smart enough to do both! Following college, he started his own school and wrote his own textbooks. Then God took hold of Judson’s life.
Judson dedicated his life to Christ and to the mission field of India on December 2, 1808. He and his wife Ann became the first Protestant missionaries ever to be sent from North America (they became Baptists while studying during their boat trip to India).
After working in India, they moved their ministry to Burma. Using the incredible intelligence God gave him, Judson translated the Bible into Burmese, wrote hymns, inspired missionaries to join him on the field, and shared God’s message of salvation wherever he went. He took only one furlough (a break or vacation), and he died during his last voyage home.
Back when he was in seminary, Judson sent a letter to his future wife. It said, “I have some hope that I shall be enabled to keep this in mind, in whatever I do – IS IT PLEASING TO GOD?”
How often do we ask ourselves that important question? Whom do we seek to please? How about when no one is looking – are you constantly seeking to live your life before God? God is pleased and honored when we seek to glorify and enjoy Him.
Galatians 1:10 – For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.