by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

(Chapter 11 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Blue Denim and Lace)

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (I Corinthians 10:13)

The other day a question was asked which often is directed my way: "Why don't you get mad at your enemies? How is it that you are sometimes able to avoid retaliation and revenge?" My answer invariably is I Corinthians 10:13. Such thoughts as these that follow are a constant source of help in overcoming bitterness, vindication, retaliation, and revenge.

1. All people have the same attributes. Yes, I certainly think that the Apostle Paul had the same temptations that I have . Our temptations are common to man. If this be true, I have in me what I don't like in you, and these same ingredients are found in the life of every person. To be sure, different amounts of certain sins or temptations may exist in different people, but the fact remains, I have in me what I don't like in you. Hence, I must be tolerant toward you.

2. Each asset has a liability, and each liability has an asset. In other words, with the asset of purity, often comes the liability of Phariseeism. With the asset of friendliness often comes the liability of compromise. With the asset of leadership often comes the liability of pride. This philosophy levels each of us with his neighbor. It eliminates pride. A characteristic which is good about us carries with it the temptation for something bad. Negatively, a bad characteristic often carries a tendency toward an asset. One who is stubborn may develop conviction. One who is proud may have the asset of leadership. One who is guilty of Phariseeism may carry with him the asset of purity. Seeing such equality in the human race will avoid over-exaltation and excessive criticism of one's fellow man.

If the above be consistently true, and perhaps it is not, and if we love people because of what they are, we will find ourselves loving all people, for all have in them what all others have in them.

3. If we then love one person more than the other, the love is given to us by God. This is a great thought. If you have a friend who lives by this philosophy and loves you more than he does others, it is because God have him that love. Think of the security involved. It is not generated, by His grace, and, consequently, will not change.

Think what such a philosophy does for one: It eliminates criticism in this life. It encourages the impure to realize that even the pure possess impurity. Remember that no temptations take us but such as are common to man. This theory will also humble the pure, for the pure will find in himself liabilities and temptations that will make him more careful to undergird himself against Satan's wiles.

This also offers real humility and meekness. It makes one think of himself as no better or worse than anyone else. It will help to eliminate both inferiority and superiority complexes.

If each of us will examine his assets, he will no doubt find the temptations that each asset carries. This will drive each of us to more dependence upon God and His help and strength.

As one grows in this grace and in all Christian graces he will find himself being more and more alone in society. Someone has said there is a fine line of distinction between a genius and a moron. This appears to be so because each is about the same distance from society or from the masses. The truth, however, is that the only similarity a genius and a moron have is their distance from the average. They are really on the opposite ends of the pole. The same thing is true concerning true love and lust. Love and lust look alike only because the masses would be the same distance from both. Love and lust are on the opposite ends of the pole, but since we interpret everything according to what we think, we associate the two together because they are both the same distance from the masses.

The more we become like Christ, the farther we will travel from Mr. Average. Mr. Average is the one who gives us our reputation for being a good person. The one who grows the most in grace, the one who loves the most, the one who sacrifices the most, the one who gives the most will probably be looked upon by society as being as obnoxious as the one at the other end of the line. Hence, the one who is Christlike will not appear to be Christlike to the world. In contrast, one who appears to be Christlike, no doubt, has missed Christlikeness.

Let each of us realize that the weaknesses of his neighbor are found in some degree in ourselves. Hence, because what is found in all of us is in the rest of us, it behooves none of us to be critical, for in the final analysis we are all depraved creatures with common temptations and common weaknesses. In criticizing our neighbor, we are criticizing ourselves, for we have a common origin.


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