Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Paul always addressed his communities when they were not behaving. Clearly somebody was angry and feeling vengeful. When Paul addresses the concern of revenge for our enemies; he says it is off the table. We are to carry our cross (Luke 14:27), have patience in suffering, persevere in prayer, and when our enemies need water or food we are to give that to them. We are to do what is noble in the sight of all and live peaceably with all.
As I was becoming acquainted with the phenomena of “Christians” I thought, “these people are crazy, they think you can love your enemy!?!” That is the kind of thinking of someone deeply imbedded in the world’s culture. Yet in following Jesus and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, you can do good for your enemy.
To be baptized and enter into the Kingdom of God means you see things differently. You begin to see the world with God’s eyes. You see a world whose destiny is to be transformed. You see small minded, nasty, snarky, callous, evil people as the children that God is working with. And God asks for you to help introduce them to the Kingdom of God.
These scriptures that tell us to take up our cross, overcome evil with good, are inviting us into the Kingdom of God. Have eyes like God sees the world. How God sees the world in the beginning, the middle and the end. These eyes are Christian mindfulness. To stop and see the world, each moment, each person, as Christ does. Christian mindfulness. Being completely present to the possibility in front of you with Jesus.
Being baptized means you are committing your life in the direction of God’s Kingdom and seeing how God sees. And in this world there is only building up. There is patience in suffering and building up, drawing forward, endorsing the gifts and good in each other.
If your prayer life is a one way street, likely you ask God “help me, show me.” But if it’s two way you hear God say, “this is what this person can teach you….this is what your enemy needs. Here is where you need to grow, where you need to repent.” Jesus helps us through suffering not from suffering. We do suffer under the hands of our enemies, but revenge isn’t the Christian response. Christ is all in all; Christ will be in your response to care for your enemy as yourself. That is the faithful response.