As Far As the East Is From The West

I Corinthians 13-4-7 4Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boiled over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  5It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. 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].  6It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.  7Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. 8Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
I know we have spent a few days talking about how love takes no account of the evil done to it, but I wanted to add just a little more. In our last devotional we talked about Joseph and how even after his brothers kidnapped him, and sold him into slavery which ended up causing him to be imprisoned for a period of time, he was able to show them love. When he first saw them, after he was promoted to greatness, they didn’t recognize him, but he knew them. He could have caused them many problems and the never would have known why. However instead of retaliation, he showed them kindness. In Genesis 42:25 we see 25Then [privately] Joseph commanded that their sacks be filled with grain, every man’s money be restored to his sack, and provisions be given to them for the journey. And this was done for them. The second time the brothers came to Joseph, instead of revenge he showed them hospitality. Genesis 46:31-33 31And he washed his face and went out, and, restraining himself, said, Let dinner be served. 32And [the servants] set out [the food] for [Joseph] by himself, and for [his brothers] by themselves, and for those Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, according to the Egyptian custom not to eat food with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33And [Joseph’s brothers] were given seats before him–the eldest according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth; and the men looked at one another amazed [that so much was known about them]. Eventually when Joseph did reveal himself to his brothers they were afraid of what he might do to them. Instead of cruelty and vengeance, he showed them compassion and forgiveness.
This gives us a great pattern to follow in our lives. When someone treats us badly, instead of revenge, retaliation and cruelty, we should instead show kindness, forgiveness and love. In Matthew 5:43-44 Jesus said,  43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; While this may sometimes be difficult, if we think about the love and forgiveness that God has shown us, it makes it a little easier. Psalm 103:12 says 12As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. If He can give us that much mercy, how much mercy can we give the people in our lives?


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