Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.…
The text teaches us —
I. HOW WE SHOULD NEVER TREAT OUR PERSECUTORS. "Curse not." The temptation to revengeful retaliation is not easy to be resisted by even the most docile. We "must be manly," and when annoyed by persecution we are extremely liable to regard manliness as the synonym of pugnacity. To turn again upon a formidable foe requires courage, but that may be moral cowardice. Much of the courage that is crowned with honours is mere animalism. To refrain from injuring one who has injured us is the highest type of manliness. To persecute persecutors —
1. Wilt-do you no good. Is revenge sweet? Yes; if the triumph of devils over a soul taken captive is sweet.
2. Will do you harm. It will only inflame those passions which Christ came to stamp out.
3. Will injure your persecutors. It will only incense them in their persecuting work.
II. HOW WE SHOULD ALWAYS TREAT OUR PERSECUTORS. "Bless them that persecute you." The word is twice used. All our treatment of persecutors must be in harmony with it. God, Christ, the Spirit, and the angels are saying to you, "Bless your persccutors!" But how?
1. With your pity, i.e., the pity which can weep over the erring ones (Luke 19:41). All who are antagonistic to Christianity need, if they do not deserve, it.
2. With your patience. They may see their folly by and by, and repent of it. Christ had patience with Saul, the champion of persecutors. And since the "chief of sinners" was converted, do not despair of any.
3. With your prayers (Matthew 5:44). In proportion as we can pray for God to bless our bitterest enemies are we Christlike (Acts 7:60).
4. With your pardon. There is no force in the universe so mighty and God-like as that of forgiving love.
5. If need be, with the blessings of your purse (ver. 20). No persecutor can stand that long (1 Peter 3:9). "It is hard," you say. Yes; but, like every other difficult thing, it becomes easy by practice and perseverance. The lesson is only to be learnt at the Cross.
Parallel VersesKJV: Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.