Patiently enduring evil

Patiently enduring evil

Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. – James 1:20

2 Timothy 2:23-26

 23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.

 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient when wronged.

 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.

The story is told of Luca, a 30-something young man who had lived in a new neighborhood for several months. He tried to get to know his neighbors. But everyone seemed too busy to do more than stop and talk for a minute or two. One day, Jim, one of his neighbors, came over. He asked to borrow his truck. Luca was a bit miffed, thinking to himself, Jim didn’t have time to talk to me, and now he wants to borrow my truck. That’s pretty audacious.

But rather than being rude and obnoxious, Luca simply said that the tires on his truck were nearly bald, and he was afraid to let anybody drive it.

The next day, Jim visited and said he was getting new tires for his SUV. He told Luca could have his old tires. He only needed to go by the tire store, and they would mount them for him. Luca was a little bit ashamed, but he was genuinely grateful. He thought to himself, “What a magnanimous act of kindness.”

Luca went to the tire shop and identified himself. They took his truck and told him to relax in the waiting room. When they came to get him, he was shocked to discover that they had mounted brand-new Michelin tires on his truck. Luca was puzzled and a bit concerned about the mistake that they had made. He asked where the old tires from Jim’s car were.

The shop manager said, “Jim used the story about the ‘old tires’ to get you to come into the shop. Jim bought you a brand-new set of tires as a gift.” Luca went from being a little bit ashamed to very, very ashamed. He had to rethink his attitude toward his neighbors. Someone he hardly knew was so kind to him. Luca realized that he should be kind to others in the same way. Particularly with his unspoken critical, harsh thoughts and words.

As children of the King become more and more familiar with the Truth found in the Word of God, a strange thing happens. They begin to see themselves as correctors of others. They seek to instruct those lacking in knowledge or immature in the faith. It often becomes their mission in life to “fix” others.

Paul recognizes similar traits among learned Jewish people. They saw themselves as correctors of the foolish and teachers of the immature (Romans 2:20).

The reality is that most people don’t want to be “fixed.”

But the question is, how does the Father want children of the King to help others and coax them along the way to faith and maturity?

REFLECT & PRAY

“The most admirable quality among people is when we pause and think of something to say, without ripping others to shreds (even if they deserved it)” (Efrat Cybulkiewicz).

Father teach me to be tolerant and calm rather than reactive to the ideas and thoughts of others. Encourage me to realize that Your ways are nothing like my ways.

INSIGHT

Paul shows the way. Some conversations are simply useless and only lead to fights. Be selective and choose your battles carefully. What really matters and what does not? And if you engage, would be beneficial or ineffectual.

2 Timothy 2:14 [Do] not to wrangle about words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.

2 Timothy 2:23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.

2 Timothy 2:24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient when wronged.

2 Timothy 2:24  And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil (ESV).

The first part of the verse is pretty straightforward. Children of the King are encouraged to be kind. They are not to start quarrels or fight. The provocative, striking, and totally unpredictable exhortation is at the end of the verse.

The Greek term, anexikakos, has translations that are all over the map: patient when wronged, patient, not resentful, and patient with difficult people. These translations focus on the corrector, not those corrected. It’s all about their reaction when they speak to others. They must be tolerant and patient without becoming angry or upset as they contend with others. The translations attempt to mitigate the correctors’ emotional response.

But that is not what the Greek term anexikakos means. Anexikakos comes from the Greek words anecho – to bear, tolerate + kakos evil, bad. It actually means to endure evil. Children of the King are to put up with evil, that is, bear evil without resentment.

Rather than striking back and escalate our “correction” of the foolish or uninformed, we are to hold our tongue, be kind, and patiently present the truth.

What a shocking contrast to Paul’s words in Romans 12:9 Abhor what is evil. Somehow it just doesn’t seem right. But it is right. When we attempt to bring people from darkness to light; we do not attack the darkness. We shine the light. The goal is not to correct the theology or doctrine of others.  It is to bring them to a greater understanding of the Father’s Truth and allow the Truth to persuade.

Why would Paul teach something which seems so strange? If anyone could persuade others with powerful argumentation, it was Paul. He explains,

1 Corinthians 2:2-5

 2 For I decided that while I was with you, I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.

 3 I came to you in weakness – timid and trembling.

 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.

 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

James adds: Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. – James 1:20

Therefore, Paul commands children of the King to speak and act in a way seemingly alien to our natural instincts.

2 Timothy 2:25-26

 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.

“It’s easier to treat people properly than to repair broken relationships” (Frank Sonnenberg).

¯\_()_/¯

© Dr. H 2022

5 thoughts on “Patiently enduring evil

  1. Thank you so much. I was strongly confronted by the Father regarding how to respond appropriately to evil. Let’s just say my performance was not stellar. This reflection came out of my own life experiences.
    Soli Gloria Deo.
    Please share with others as you are led. DrH

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know exactly what you mean. I know I am not to repay evil with evil, but respond with good, so let’s just say my performance has been less than stellar as well. It is something I ask Holy Spirit to help me with each morning, so I actually have the wherewithal to pause before I respond. Some days are better than others.

    Like

  3. Sounds much like the apostle Paul to me. He too had the same problem we all have feet of clay.
    Romans 7:15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: