Have you ever been in a situation where you gave and gave, and received nothing in return? Have you ever really put yourself out for someone else, only to have them turn on you later? Have you ever been really nice to someone, only to have them betray you in the most crucial time of your life? This happens to all of us, all the time. It happened to David often throughout his life. He wrote of this dilemma in Psalm 35. He wrote: “They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother” (Psalm 35:12-14).
The lesson from these verses that I gained today, and that I would like to pass along to you, is that my actions should not be governed by the actions of others. I should do what is right, regardless of how people act toward me. I know that other people will not always do what is right, but that does not mean that it gives me license to do what is wrong. I have found throughout my lifetime that some of the people I have given to, have not returned the favor, and have even been guilty of spreading gossip and rumors about me.
When our children (or even my wife) have faced similar situations, I have heard myself encouraging them with the thought that when time runs its course, people will see what your true character is like. The lesson is that we should be true to God and He will allow the goodness in our heart to be seen by all who know us; including those who have come against us. If we spend too much time worrying about what other people think about us, we will use up the energy we need to do what pleases God.
When people come against you today, look for ways to do nice things for them. When they are sick, let them know that you are hoping they will improve quickly, and do what you can to help them. Be humble when dealing with them and pray for them regularly. Be a friend, and act like a brother to them. In other words, when others treat you wrong, do all you can to act in the proper way with them.
Later in the New Testament, Jesus would teach that we were to love our enemies and to do good to those who act improperly toward us. In doing these kinds of things, we will heap guilt upon their head as they continue to act improperly. The only way this is possible, is we will completely depend upon God for His love and mercy.