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Doing Good To Evildoers And The Story Of Jean Valjean

  1. Status: God's holding my hand as I walk very slowly. Still feel like I'm getting nowhere in my faith walk or in my life walk but surely I'm moving forward.

    I was reading through the NT earlier today and thinking about my worry for my mother who gets angry with things quite easily and is often tempted to take her own form of vengeance on people who do her any sort of wrong. I came across a passage in Romans 12:19-21 where Paul refers back to a verse in Proverbs:

    …19 Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.…"

    I believe that Paul here refers to the idea that if you treat those who do you wrong with kindness and mercy (as Jesus would have us do) instead of returning evil with evil then you would "heap burning coals" on them and perhaps bring them to repentance.

    I was IMMEDIATELY reminded of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables (both the book and the musical) where he was a hardened criminal recently released from prison and didn't think twice about stealing silver from a priest who had done nothing but give him food and shelter when no one else would. Sounds like an evil person. But when Valjean is caught by the authorities and the priest is given a chance to identify him as a criminal and have justice done, he acts with MERCY instead and tells the authorities that he gave the silver to him and that no crime was committed. Valjean is let go and the priest encourages him to leave his life of crime and bitterness. One of my favorite lines in the musical version is where the priest tells him "I have bought your soul for God". Valjean realizes the pure mercy he has been show and thus begins his life of atonement, kindness, and living a life for God.

    It's amazing to think about but I am sure that in real life, showing kindness to others who do you wrong doesn't always bring someone to repentance. In fact, 9/10 they will continue on in their evil ways. But just because it doesn't work, doesn't mean that we should stop being kind and merciful. I'm not saying excuse every crime done to you as God does say we should respect and obey authorities and the laws set down by them. But we should always have a peaceful attitude and resist the temptation to take vengeance. I just hope one day my mom will see that.

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    "I am only a man myself."


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  1. Quasiblogo
    To be able to wish the best for others, then put that desire into action "In His Name", that is walking in God's love. Listen to Alfie Boe sing "Bring him home", as Jean Valjean in the 2002 25th Anniversary performance of Les Mis. Epitomizes caring for others as oneself:
      derpytia likes this.
  2. CodyFaith
    One of my favorite movies (I realize it's a play and book but I'm a movie guy).

    Also one of my favorite scenes, and line from the priest.

    I love how the writer knew to have the priest call him "brother". Very powerful.
      derpytia likes this.
  3. Galatea
    Victor Hugo was a Christian, and I think he meant to impart his faith in the book. Thank you for posting.
      derpytia likes this.