Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kill 'em With...Kindness?

Evil expects us to recoil in fear and shame. To hide in its shadows, giving way to death as we bar the doors of our heart while refusing passion and intimacy. It thrives in such conditions, seizing control over its wounded. For most of us, it’s how our heart responds to hurt.

In the last post, we unraveled some deep truths about bold love and what that might look like in the realm of forgiveness. We grazed the idea of confrontation and rebuke, offered in hopes of repentance and redemption for the ones who have wronged us. And now, another concept of bold love and forgiveness:  doing good to those who hurt us.

No, it’s not our knee-jerk reaction! But one that can only come from a mature heart. A heart that has received substantial healing and grace itself.

“On the contrary:  ‘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)

In the classic Disney film, “Beauty and the Beast,” a prince turned beast locks a young girl, Belle, away in his enchanted castle. At first, she recoils and hides as evil expects, with evil growing all the while. But, with the gentle encouragement of the castle’s keepers, Belle begins to offer life to the Beast from the good of her heart.

(after starting the video, click on the timeline bar at the 43 seconds mark to begin the clip at the correct scene)

The Beast is caught off guard. His surprise causes him to fumble, so he works to regain his beastly composure. It isn’t easy at first and it doesn’t come naturally, but Belle must continue to boldly offer love to this most unsightly one. With each act of kindness, the beast’s composure begins to melt.

In the end, Belle’s love is able to break the evil spell and the Beast is restored as the prince he was meant to be.

I know. It's so tempting to chalk this up to simply fairy-tale. A fairy-tale we have falsely believed will never come true, all the while secretly hoping it will. That's because we misunderstand the gospel to which these fairy-tales are pointing. Yes, it will require tremendous courage and sacrifice...but it IS true and it can and does happen.

This is the hope and possibility when we live by the wisdom of Paul in Romans 12:20-21

Paul strikes a death blow against evil when he tells us to give evil life. It is like pouring life-giving water on the Wicked Witch of the West—she melts. Life and death do not mix. And when life, light, and love—in all its humble beauty, broken strength, frail boldness, and passionate other-centeredness—encounters evil, evil must flee or be transformed.
(Dr. Dan Allender in The Wounded Heart, pp. 244-245)

So the next time your tempted to run and hide in the shadow of evil-doers—or that family member, friend, or co-worker that has wronged you—try offering kindness instead. Your Heavenly Father will show you how as He encourages you. Evil cannot last in the light of bold love.

**Again, if you are dealing with an abuser or a past-abuser, do not go alone. Offering kindness in such a situation may look very different, and should never put you in a position to be alone with an abuser. Reconciliation is possible, but not always obtained, and not always safe. Each situation is different. We recommend counseling (which we offer through Rally Point Ministries, see Contact tab, as well as other trusted sources), and safe-guards until/if reconciliation is fully achieved.

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