“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” Romans 12:17-18 NASB.
It’s hard to fake this. We have to be talking supernatural stuff since I prefer the natural. I like getting even or seeing my “enemy” get what’s coming to them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cursed someone in my heart if not with my lips or tried to disprove grandma’s saying “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
The end result of this natural tendency is escalation of warfare, bitterness, giving justification to your adversary’s actions against you, and discrediting your testimony. In short, we get in God’s way.
“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” Roman 12:19 NASB.
Topos is the Greek word translated “room” and means “a marked off place as a city, village, or location; a parcel of ground – real estate” (it’s the root of our English word “topography”).
It’s as though God has given us a clearly defined area for the real estate of our life. If we move off our topos in judgment and unforgiveness, we overstep our authority and trespass on His land. We need to let God be God. When we take revenge, people hate us; when God judges, people often repent. So leave room for God.
Similarly, the Bible says, “Be angry and yet do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” Ephesians 4:26-27 NASB. Would it surprise you that “opportunity” is also the Greek word topos? The warning is to not let anger marinate and degrade into a root of bitterness, resentment or hatred thus allowing the devil to move onto your property!
Since your “enemy” is most often being driven by the Enemy, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 KJV) works well to restore God’s perspective. So say it. Be diligent to guard your God-given topos by renewing your heart and mind according to the Word of God and being transformed into those who supernaturally live according to Spirit.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said, “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” Could it be that peace in our lives will come when we love the Lord more than we hate our enemy?
Where are you currently in God’s way? Forgive and step aside. Where have you given the devil an opportunity to camp out on your property? Forgive and tear down that stronghold.
© 2012 Tim McKenzie – www.OnEveryWord.com