JUST DESERTS

There is a saying, “Love your friends and hate your enemies.” But I say: Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust too. [Matthew 5:43-45 (TLB)]

There’s no need for revenge. Just sit back and wait. Those who hurt you will eventually screw up themselves and, if you’re lucky, God will let you watch! [Anonymous bit of Internet wisdom]

thistleLike many, I mistook the phrase, “just deserts” for “just desserts.” The phrase comes from a now obsolete meaning of the word “desert” which was something deserved or merited. However we spell or say it, we tend to take a certain amount of pleasure when our enemies, adversaries, and those people who manage to make our lives difficult or downright miserable get what they deserve. “Poetic justice,” we say while watching them reap the consequences of their actions. Bad attitudes, excess drama, inappropriate behavior, substandard performance, selfishness, pettiness, laziness and insubordination all have a way of catching up with people. It’s hard to have any sympathy for them when they end up in a world of hurt of their own making. Jesus doesn’t tell us we have to be sympathetic but He does say we have to love and pray for them! We don’t have to allow their poison to seep into our lives, make excuses for them, enable them, tolerate horrible behavior, or become embroiled in their drama, but we do have to love and pray!

It’s way too easy to chuckle and take pleasure in seeing the tables turn on the problematic people in our lives. That’s simply Satan tempting us to be petty and vengeful. If God lets us watch as they sink into the hole they dug for themselves, it’s not to take pleasure in their dilemma; it’s so that we can love them, pray for them and maybe even offer a helping hand.

Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts. [Buddha]

If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even scoundrels do that much. If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathen do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. [Matthew 5:46-48 (TLB)]

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