“Do good to those who hate you.” – Jesus (Mt 5:44)
One day, after church, a normal visit with friends to the local Waffle House turned into quite the eventful experience.
It was a Wednesday night (I think), church had ended and a few friends decided to all get together to grab a bite to eat. We decided on Waffle House. Close to about 10 of us went so we took up a few tables. When the waitress arrived at hour table I immediately noticed her array of occultish jewelry. She was wearing pentagram earrings and a pentagram neckless. She had various tattoos on her wrist which also included a pentagram. Her hair was short and semi curly, and dyed black. She was a thin, and fairly attractive girl in her early 20's, I would guess. I wasn't at all repulsed by her jewelry or tattoos, for I have seen and conversed with many people with similar things. That kind of stuff has never bothered me. But what was truly distinctive about this girl was her demeanor and her attitude. It was instantly obvious that she had no desire to serve us. As I look back on the experience, I have come under the impression that she was also quite insecure.
When she approached our table, she asked us what we wanted to drink. And it was the strangest thing, because when we answered with our request she literally would scoff. After each person gave their order she would scoff like a teenage girl who would scoff after her mom demanded that she clean her room before she left with her friends for a movie.
She looked noticeably agitated – more so than I have ever noticed in anyone in a public place before. Her eyes would dart back and forth, and she would, kind of, twitch with anxiety.
She fetched our drinks and returned, scoffing when we would say 'thank you.' She made such an impression on all of us that, after we ordered, I remember some of the people with me commenting that they had never had such an awful waitress in their entire life.
After I ordered my food, it struck me that Waffle House didn't accept credit cards (they didn't back then). I asked the waitress about it just to be sure. When she said that they didn't, I explained that I would have to go to the ATM and get some cash. She scoffed.
A buddy of mine and I got up and left for the ATM machine. We talked about the waitress on the way. He commented on the fact that she was such a terrible waitress and how she was getting zero tip from him. I agreed that she was awful, but the love of God was stirred up inside of me. I said to him, “What do you say we just blow her mind with the love of Jesus? I'm going to get extra money out of the ATM machine and lets all pitch in like five dollars each and give her the biggest tip ever.”
He paused for a minute. He said, “You know what, you're right. Let's do just that.”
We were kind of excited. Can you imagine how this scoffing waitress would respond after getting a $50 tip? I wish that we could have seen the expression on her face when she collected it off of the table. But she never did.
When we got back from the ATM machine and the food started coming to the table, we noticed that a different waitress delivered our food. She looked really busy. When we inquired about our waitress, we were quickly informed that she had quit and just walked out the door…
I was shocked. And bummed out.
As I look back on the situation, I wonder why she decided to quit right then. At first I thought of some over-spiritual reason, like the demon inside of her couldn't stand the light of Jesus inside of us. But now I think it was because of another reason. I think she left because, either she overheard some us talking bad about her, or because someone said something rude to her from our party while I was at the ATM machine. What a shame, and what a missed opportunity.
If only we as Christians could practice what Jesus preached, that we should love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. That girl's dislike of God and Christ was strengthened that day, when it could have been shattered – all because some of us were too concerned about our drink and our food to discern a God moment when it was right in front of us. Oh, what a difference the love of God could have made in this girl's life! Who knows what that one moment could have done for all eternity? Unfortunately, we will never know. Oh, how sad!
Why can't Christians understand this basic of basic teachings from our Lord? So many Christians (so-called) fight and war the same way the world does. When someone hits them, they hit them back. When someone curses them, they curse them back. When someone talks bad about them, they hurl back insults. Hello?! Have you ever once read your bible? EVER?
Throughout the bible we will find time after time the notion of doing good to those who do evil to us. Especially so when it is in regard to our faith.
“Repay no one evil for evil.” Romans 12:17
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. ’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,” Matthew 5:43-44
“Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” 1 Peter 4:21-23
“Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
“Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong.]” 1 Corinthians 13:5 (AMP)
“Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will bless you for it.” 1 Peter 3:9 (NLT)
“See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15 (HCSB)
Can it be any plainer than that?
The problem is many who call themselves Christian have not tamed that animal nature. The beast of their flesh rises up when someone does them wrong and the natural tendency to retaliate takes over and they seek revenge. But vengeance does not belong to us:
“'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord” Romans 12:19
God holds record of every wrong that is done to you and every wrong will be paid for. It will either be paid for by him that committed the wrong or Christ's sacrifice will pay for their sin, if they'll receive it. This is one of the reasons that God doesn't allow us to carry out vengeance, and why He desires us to love those who hate us. He loves them, and wants them to be saved. He wants to purge their sins. He desires that none should perish, but that all come to the knowledge of the truth. His vengeance was carried out on Jesus Christ so that those who will might come to Him for eternal life. Glory to God!
Keep all these things in mind whenever you are tempted to lash out at someone who has done you wrong. By lashing out, you are not only directly violating a clear commandment of Christ, but you are hindering the chance that your enemy has of coming to God and having their sins washed away. Who knows if you will encounter a similar situation as I was in with my demon-possessed waitress, and maybe you will be able to come out of it with a better testimony of God's grace.