Welcome to the Kingdom of Heaven

Getting Even

Peace does not come by swallowing pills. We need something more if we are to overcome the disease producing stresses of today. When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, God promised that if they would obey Him, He would put none of these diseases of the Egyptians upon them. God's promise of freedom from disease is one that modern medicine cannot duplicate.

When I was a child, Yellowstone Park had a grizzly bear feeding area. The park ranger dumped garbage into a clearing and it wasn't long before a grizzly bear arrived. Soon he's joined by the one animal he allows to eat with him - a skunk.

The Grizzly is one of the strongest animals in the West and could easily win any fight with a skunk. Yet the Grizzly leaves the skunk alone. Surely the Grizzly resents the skunk and yearns to get even with him for his brazen impotence, but he doesn't. Why? Because he knows there is a high cost to getting even. Smart grizzly.

Certainly much smarter than many human beings who spend weary days and sleepless nights brooding over their resentments and trying to hatch ways to squelch someone. Man doesn't seem to learn that the high cost of getting even may be ulcers or colitis or toxic goiter strokes or even heart attacks.

The moment I start hating a man I become his slave. I cannot enjoy working anymore because he even controls my thoughts. My resentments produce too much stress hormones in my body and I become fatigued after only a few hours of work. The work I formerly enjoyed is now drudgery. The man I hate hounds me wherever I go. I cannot escape his tyrannical grasp on my mind.

Fattening Grudges:

The most common way people get even with others is by talking about them, but running people down does not keep us free from a host of diseases of body and mind. The verbal expression of animosity toward others calls forth certain hormones from the pituitary, adrenal, thyroid and other glands. An excess of these hormones can cause disease in any part of the body.

Many diseases can develop when we fatten our grudges by rehearsing them in the presence of others. Man can fill every moment with thoughts that fume like nitric acid and corrode just as deeply. Are human beings more stupid than grizzly bears or is man controlled far more than he realizes by an inner evil force.

Knowing the Spirit:

I think Jesus gave the answer when James and John wanted him to call down fire on a Samaritan village because the Samaritans would not give them lodging. The Lord rebuked them by saying, "Ye know not what manner of spirit you are of. ( Luke 9:55)

Before Pentecost Peter also had an innate evil spirit. In the Garden of Gethsemane Peter with fiery vengeance tried to cut off the head of one of the opposition party. A complete transformation occurred in James, John, and Peter after they crucified self and were filled with the Holy Spirit. The old spirit of getting even was replaced by the holy spirit of Christ, who, when he was reviled, reviled not again.

The seventh chapter of Acts describes how Stephen, being full of the Holy Spirit, reacted when he was stoned. Stoning was a horrible, painful way to kill a man, but Stephen was devoid of the spirit of revenge. Bleeding and bruised, he summoned his last bit of energy to get on his knees and pray, "Lord lay not this sin to their charge." (Acts 7: 60)

How many of us stoned by a vicious mob would be primarily interested in praying with our last breath for their spiritual welfare? Failure to possess his spirit will make us susceptible to many diseases of body and mind. When we are shamefully wronged by someone, we cannot resist the temptation to get even. And paying the price of getting even means losing a pound of our own flesh.

Christ can crucify the carnal spirit if we drive the spikes into everything in our lives that he marks for destruction. But what about our rights? One may ask, "Isn't it foolish to give up our rights?" But perhaps it is not foolish since in giving up our rights we ensure our health and happiness. And giving the other fellow a piece of our mind, we always lose a piece of heart.

To the natural man, it is unthinkable that he should give in when he is right. He refuses to sacrifice his pride, but in so doing he sacrifices his health. Not too intelligent a transaction.

All of us are subjected to many many stress factors in our daily lives, but that does not mean we have to develop inner stress with its resultant toxic chemicals and diseases. Our reactions to stress determine whether stress will make us better or bitter.

Changing Hate to Love:

Only a doctor can fully appreciate the amazingly large percentage of human disease and suffering which is directly traceable to worry, fear, conflict, immorality, dissipation and ignorance. Christ taught a life of mental peace and joy and selfishness and clean living. If mankind would sincerely put into practice these teachings more than half the difficulties, diseases and sorrows of the human race would be wiped out.

Laying aside all discussion of future life, it would pay any man or woman to live the Christ life just for the mental and moral rewards it affords here in this present world. Someday man may awaken to the fact that the teachings of Christ are potent and powerful in preventing and curing disease. Do good to them that hate you. (Matthew 5:44)

Impossible? Try doing something good for your enemy and it will surprise you to find out how much easier it is to love him. This is a scriptural sound method of changing our feelings. Love your enemies. Do good to them that hate you. That may be a very bitter tonic to swallow, but you will discover that when it reaches the heart, it will be surprisingly invigorating and exhilarating. By doing good, you can change hate to love.

Obedience to the Lord in loving others, even the unlovely, will save you from a host of debilitating and serious diseases. Only when such love exists between individuals, between races and between nations is there any hope for the world

Wake up and repent. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.