“Do good to those who hate you.” Lk 6:27 NKJV
When General Robert E. Lee was asked by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to give his opinion about a certain officer, he gave a glowing report. One of the officers in attendance was amazed at his words and said to Lee, “General, do you know that the man of whom you speak so highly to the president is one of your bitterest enemies, and never misses an opportunity to criticize you?” Lee said, “Yes, but the president asked my opinion of him. He didn’t ask for his opinion of me.” It takes character, compassion and courage to speak well of a critic. But when you do, three good things happen: (1) You increase your own value. You show you’re able to rise above criticism by bestowing praise on another. (2) You defuse your enemy’s criticism of you. When people hear your praise of a critic and their disdain for you, their respect for you rises and they see you in a different light. (3) People see you as fair-minded and generous. It takes very little effort to respond in kind to a critic, but it takes Christlike character to turn the other cheek and bless them. Jesus said: “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also…And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (vv. 27-31 NKJV). You say, “That’s a high standard.” It’s the one Jesus set, practiced throughout His life, and is calling you to live by today.
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