I came across this verse in my devotional time with the Lord, and He gently began to remind me that not everyone is going to repay me with good when I do good to them. In fact, some people will actually hate me for it. What is most painful is that some of these folks will be among my own loved ones, and some of them will even call themselves Christians. But the truth is that they have no love for God, or for His people.
The New Living Translation of this verse says: "They repay me evil for good and oppose me for pursuing good." (Psalm 38:20 NLT) Not everyone is going to be happy when we do our best to pursue good in this life - some people will actually become our adversaries because of it. Case in point: We may hear from God in a situation, and then start out trying to follow His will, and then be met by opposition, and begin wondering if we heard God right. It's always a good idea in these cases to ask the Lord for confirmation and clarification. But chances are, we are already on the right track, and the enemy of our souls is working behind the scenes to stir up people to come against us. If we will stand firm in doing the good that God has assigned us, we will eventually reap the rewards for our obedience. (Galatians 6:9)
Jesus told His disciples: "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also." (John 15:18-19, 20 NIV) Because the Savior endured the worst kind of persecution when He was here, He is able to relate to our suffering, and He is ever ready to give us all the comfort and encouragement we need to not only endure, but to overcome.
As the Scripture above in Psalm 38 says, God-haters can't stand a God-lover. And that's okay. Our goal is not to please people, but to please God. (2 Corinthians 5:9) And if we look to Him for wisdom and strength, He will protect us and provide for us as we live our life for Him!
Prayer: Lord, make me a God-lover in every way, and cause me to grow closer to You every day. Help me to spend my life doing the good works You have called me to, and to do them wholeheartedly and with joy. When I suffer persecution because of my devotion to You, comfort me and empower me to respond in a Christlike way. Thank You that as I make pleasing You my number one priority, You will promote me and give me even greater responsibility for Your glory!
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