There’s a great story in II Kings 6, 7 in which some lepers are outside the city during a famine and come across the spoils of the enemy army. God has just caused the army to leave their camp in fear and the food is abundant and the riches are laying all around. The lepers first thought, of course, is to hoard it and keep it to themselves. Why not?
But then they make this amazing claim: “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.” (II Kings 7:9)
In other words, they will share these riches that have been poured into their laps with those who have oppressed them and kept them outside the city gates.
This thought brought me to Hebrews 13:11 – 16
“The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased”
Jesus was beaten, stripped, and dragged outside the city in total humiliation. Yet He still offered peace and forgiveness to those who did the beating, stripping and dragging. Not only that, but He offered the very riches of heaven to them. You see it’s one thing to offer an oppressor forgiveness. It’s quite another to turn around and offer them something from your own storehouse.
There is a suffering outside the camp that we will endure if we truly follow the words of Christ , but there is also the indescribable riches that are beyond anything the world has to offer. However, too many of us go outside the camp to be with Christ but never return to our oppressors and share with them the riches of the good news. We would rather see our enemies suffer and die than to bring them love and peace and forgiveness and a chance for a redeemed life.
We could learn a lesson from these lepers. The way of Christ is to return to those who spitefully use and abuse us and offer them the riches of God. Unconditionally.