Overcome Evil with Good


UnBlog # 516

As we have gotten closer and closer to this Saturday, it seems that the powers of opposition have taken some notice, and are accelerating their attacks. Some very unexpected things have happened just in the last few days. The interesting thing is that the attack does not seem engineered to stop the UnBlog Reunion, but to stop me from feeling the Spirit and being spiritually prepared and inspired. Some of it has worked, mostly because I am weak and not impervious to such things. But, every time I think about this Saturday, what I should do or say, the Holy Spirit sweeps through me and I am at peace. I accept with faith and firm belief that God’s hand is on all things, and that no opposition can hinder His work when we let go and let Him resolve the conflict, including repaying the offenders.

It is almost a demand of mortal thinking that we should not let people who offend or attack us “get away with it”. We want our eye-for-an-eye. We want to ensure they never do it again. We want to see that “justice” is done, and that we are exonerated. I have written many times about letting Christ lead us through the solutions of our trials. What I have not written much about is about the sublime peace of letting Christ dispense whatever justice there needs to be.

I learned this lesson from a brother-in-law for whom I was working at the time. He had subcontracted a big job from a wealthy man who was building a series of condos. He had worked many smaller jobs for him before. It put my brother-in-law at risk for all of the materials and labor for the job to the tune of over $50,000. This was the 1980’s and 50K was a lot more risk than it is now. He and I worked for weeks on the job. When we were finally finished, the wealthy man took the money from the bank for that portion of the project, then told my brother-in-law, that if he wanted any money, he would have to sue him. There was no complaint about our work. He had planned to pocket the money from the beginning. He laughed at my brother-in-law and said he was going to go buy an airplane with the money. My brother-in-law was a great tradesman, but he was not a good business man. He had done the work on a handshake. There was not sufficient paperwork for a suit, and the rich guy knew it from the start.

I urged my brother-in-law to sue, as did his wife. He was visibly upset, almost ill from the stress. He gathered his papers and drove to the courthouse. About an hour later he returned. He didn’t say much, but told us that he had been told by the Spirit not to sue the man, but to let the Lord handle it. My sister, his wife, was incredulous and furious. They were going to lose their home. I lost my job. My brother-in-law lost his business, and even worse, his business credit. It was deeply devastating. When I asked him about it privately, he just said that he felt sorry for the rich man, because now the Lord was going to handle the injustice, and the Lord was more exacting in such things than he could have been. I didn’t understand a word of it.

A few weeks later my brother-in-law, with deep sadness, handed me a newspaper article. It was a front page story about this rich man. He had taken his whole family up in a small plane, probably the one he had purchased with the stolen money. Somewhere out over the Cook Inlet, he ran into fog, lost control of the plane, and everyone in the plane was killed except for him. He lived a few hours just until rescuers arrived. When they told him all of his family was dead, he died himself.

My brother-in-law just wept for the guy. He said, “I was so afraid something like this was going to happen. I should have just sued him.” He never got his money, and I never heard him speak of it again. He considered the debt cancelled. A short time later, another builder offered him a job that included a $50,000 open account for parts. It got his business back on its feet.

“Dearly Beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto {step out of the way of} wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:19-21)

There is great peace in letting the Lord repay. That means, letting go of the event, the anger, the injustice and the memory of it. Hanging onto a little resentment then becomes our repayment, and the Lord does not enact His full justice. He expects us to forgive – first, then He will repay. This is a little-known truth that relieves us of so much negative emotion, and of the telestial necessity to measure out the appropriate pound of flesh. It also repairs relationships, heals hearts and leaves us with the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Brother John

© August 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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18 Responses to Overcome Evil with Good

  1. What a tragedy that the man should lose not only his own life in the airplane crash, but to take his family down with him. To err is human, to forgive, divine. Your brother-in-law set a good example to follow.

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  2. darrell brashear says:

    Another wonderful thing to ponder is a scripture that to me is a spiritual key. The scripture is found in 2 Nephi. It reads, “He doeth not [anything save it be for the benefit of the world]; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.” (2 Nephi 26:24)

    This scripture reveals a very powerful mystery, and that is that the Lord doesn’t do anything except it be for the benefit of the world. To me that would include His justice as well. He wouldn’t execute His justice upon people if it wasn’t for thier benefit as well.

    Sometimes our motives aren’t always pure. When people hurt us we want justice to come upon them because we want them to hurt because they hurt us, but the Lord’s motives are always pure. He brings justice upon people for their good as well as the good of those they’ve hurt.
    brother D.

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  3. Betsy says:

    Thank you, John, for your story and for your efforts for us, the unblog family. I, too, have been experiencing opposition this week. I realized what was happening and have given this problem to the Lord. We arrived in Salt Lake today and we are looking forward to the reunion. We are all in my prayers tonight.

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  4. Kevin says:

    While not there in person (as much as I wish I could be), I have been praying for a successful and powerful event for all attendees (in person and abroad) for several weeks. Know that the hundreds in attendance are joined by hundreds more joining in Spirit.

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  5. Birrd says:

    I am Jared’s wife and I just have to add some more detail to his comment above. When I first heard about the reunion I thought “that sounds wonderful, but there’s NO way.” We didn’t have the money, Jared’s work schedule won’t allow it, it’s too far, and so on. But I saw what you responded to Ken where you said “All things are possible.” And I thought, “why not?” We started to pray. I felt good about praying for it. I felt that this was something we both really needed. And things started falling into place. I could hardly believe it.

    But then, like Jared says, once the plans were all set the opposition started. Things started breaking around the house– the car, the phone, the dishwasher, the leak under the sink…. Jared’s work schedule kept shifting to where he was gone a lot more than normal and he wasn’t home to help me deal with all this (on top of taking care of five young children and being pregnant and exhausted). A bonus we were supposed to get at work to pay for the trip didn’t come through. After the first couple of difficulties I realized what was happening. I thought of all the stories I’d read about people whose lives go completely haywire right before they’re baptized and that’s exactly what it felt like. And that’s when I realized that not only was this something that the Lord was blessing us to be able to do because it would be really nice for us, but it was something very very important for us to be at. So then when Jared would call and say “well, honey, I’m actually not going to be able to come home tonight” and I was so overwhelmed I wanted to cry, I would instead say “this Un-blog Reunion is going to be REALLY good!!!!”

    And we prayed, and all the obstacles resolved themselves one by one. Somehow we managed to get everything fixed and taken care of and straightened out. The extra work brought extra money to cover the travel expenses. And now here we are in Utah, eagerly awaiting Saturday!

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    • I am so grateful for your diligence, and for the Lord’s blessings. I imagine we will all have similar stories to tell by Saturday afternoon. I certainly do. Please come introduce yourself to me when you get a chance.

      Blessings!

      John

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  6. Robin Carlson says:

    Dear Bro John;
    May I say I echo the above comments in that this post filled a need for me also and thank you.
    Been a “follower” of UnBlogmySoul for about 9 mo now and I have learned so much from past posts and comments. My humble thanks to all for your willingness to share.
    Sincerely,
    Robin

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  7. ken h says:

    Satan is relentless in his efforts to undermine great spiritual events in our lives. These are the times when with the Savior’s grace and guidance are needed the most. United together with those who love you John and what you desire the Unblog Reunion to become is, as you know, greater the the forces of darkness. “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there will I be also,” Our Savior taught. God bless all of you who can attend. If the opposition has taken this much notice, then the blessings are of such a great magnitude that there will not have room to contain them. Onward to joy!

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  8. James says:

    I knew stuff was going to make things difficult for this event in my own life, and then I realized likely more so for Bro. John and others, which prompted me to add your names to the temple prayer roll last week.

    The adversary might have you think you need to say just the right things to make it all worthwhile. However I don’t think you could say or do anything to disappoint. You’ve said so much already of such great worth, and also captured much of Spencer’s experience yet to be shared. You could stand at the pulpit and say nothing and the right message would be loud and clear. Just you being there with the others and the unblog family will be a most joyous occasion. Great things are destined to come of this gathering of hungry souls. The Lord will make them happen and nothing can stay His hand.

    We fly in tomorrow. Can’t wait to meet everyone and be a part of this event!

    God Bless,
    James

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    • That is a very comforting thought. Thank you for adding our names to the temple. I can feel the power of everyone’s prayers and hope. I admit this whole thing is intimidating. I am not naturally a self-promoting person, and it is unquiet to me to do things like this. But, like you said, it is the Lord’s work, and I will try to open my mouth a little and we will all be surprised at what comes out. I don’t know yet myself and I can’t wait!

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  9. Sandy says:

    Thank you John. Again, you filled the need perfectly.
    Looking so forward to seeing you Saturday!

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  10. Kathy says:

    Thank you Brother Pontius…your message today is exactly what I needed. I am determined to stand on higher ground.

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  11. Jared says:

    My wife and I and our 5 children arrived in town (Provo) yesterday afternoon from Oklahoma. We are so excited we can hardly stand it! However, I must attest to the opposition. The previous 14 days prior to our departure were so very difficult. The opposition was very intense. But we just kept swimming and now we are here. We even were blessed with some family that volunteered to watch our kids for 7 hours so we can both attend.

    I know that the hosts of heaven have their eyes on this event. It is going to be wonderful. Most of all, I am excited to share in the love of our Savior which I am sure will be manifest in and through all of you!

    Jared

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  12. Hehea says:

    Thank you for this message. Very timely for me. I feel humbled that even I can be directed to your message for an answer to my trials. It is not my place to seek revenge or restitution, or expose the deception. It’s my place to seek forgiveness of my own sins and free myself from “negative emotions” Thank you very much!

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  13. Karen Prier says:

    Oh, how sweet the spirit is! It is wonderful to be reminded that indeed the Lord does recompense our losses and fight our battles. I have not expected Him to do it in such a dramatic way because I guess I always assume the person offending me will eventually repent of their sins and that I don’t have to worry about it either way, being that I always need the forgiveness of others when I offend. I suppose this just testifies that the man was not going to repent at any point in this life for his crime committed against your brother in law. Tragic more than anything really! But perfect if He did it that way.

    I am so excited for the unblog family reunion! I felt such a beautiful spirit as I read about your preparations for this weekend, including and even because of your trials. I know that when something wonderful is afoot Satan will make it as difficult as possible to keep things together. But I know you will have the spirit and we will all be edified together I felt that so strongly as I read todays blog that I have no doubt! I appreciate your hard work and willingness to be obedient to the Lord and follow through even in the trial of it all.

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  14. pgs says:

    Thank you for being so in tune with the Holy Spirit and thanks for being so willing to share. And of course mere words of thanks are in order but so inadequate to the Savior for his great love for all of us and the guidance, direction and love He always provides. This message is so timely for my dear saintly wife who has been suffering with this very issue this week. Ironically, she is usually the one forgiving, consoling and bringing peace to others. This reminder will bring her much needed peace. We are looking forward to the reunion.

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  15. Jethro Jones says:

    This is a very timely message for me. Thank you so much. I am looking forward to the event this Saturday. I need to let go of my feeling for justice to prepare myself. Thank you.

    John, I also really appreciate that you talk about your flaws so freely. We always need to be reminded that we don’t have to be perfect to feel the guidance of the Spirit, and we are weak and succumb to many things. Thank you for your openness. That is so vital. I need to do better at that, too.

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