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Romans 12:14 – Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (NRSV)

My husband Solomon and I have been living in Germany for many years as expatriates. I am British and Solomon is Nigerian. We are well integrated with the traditions and social intricacies of the German culture, and we speak the language fluently.

In the past few years, I have become increasingly concerned about the growing presence of xenophobia in Germany. A few months ago, my husband was personally confronted with racial prejudice.

Solomon was entering a train, when a young man stepped forward and barred his progress. He looked angry, and his hands were balled into tight fists.

"Hey, you, foreigner," the young man said gruffly. "Go back to your own country, and stop taking our jobs!"

Solomon was sorely tempted just to ignore the man. However, he saw that his persecutor was pale, gaunt, and poorly dressed. This individual had clearly gone through some hard times. Solomon felt sorry for him.

Smiling at the man, Solomon replied, "I can see that you're angry. But I am not your enemy."

Taking advantage of the man's shocked silence, Solomon continued, "Anger and resentment are costing you your health. Turn those negative emotions into positive thoughts that can change your mindset and ultimately your life."

Suddenly, the man's mask of bravado evaporated. He admitted to Solomon that he was unemployed and living below the existence minimum. Out of frustration, he had joined a right-wing political party that cultivated animosity towards foreigners by targeting them as the cause for the country's socio-economic problems.

Later, when they both disembarked from the train, Solomon told the young man about how a relationship with God and an application of thinking positively had changed his life around, and he wrote down the title of a book on the subject that could change his life, too.

The young man took the piece of paper from Solomon eagerly, promising to read the book. Gone was the former anger and bitterness; instead, the young man's face was now full of hope and encouragement.

What if my husband had perceived this act of persecution as a threat and not as an opportunity to share God's love and to set someone on the path towards a relationship with Jesus?

In today's verse, Paul writes that we should bless those who persecute us. The next time someone mistreats us, let us try to react to them as Christ would — with love and forgiveness. From personal experience, I know that it's not always easy, but it is worth striving for, in order to further God's kingdom on earth.

Prayer: Wonderful Father, You tell us in that we are not to be surprised when persecution comes (1 Peter 4:12). Help us to react with love to those who mistreat us, for You opened out Your arms to give us Your redeeming love when our transgressions had made us Your enemy. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Madeline Kalu <>
Bochum, Germany

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A great word for today, Madeline.

    Great story. Tell Solomon, way to go!

    What a wonderful message. Thank you.

    Thank you for a present-day example of God’s Word.

    Thank you for sharing this devotional with us. Blessings.

    Thank you, Madeline, for sharing this powerful and challenging story.

    Such a great reminder, Madeline. Thank you and Blessings to you and your husband.

    Dear Madeline Twooney,
    Thank you for the right kind of racial message. Keep writing.

    Wonderful, Madeline. Heartwarming and true. Grateful for God’s inspiration that caused you to write it. Pass along my joy to Solomon and bless him too.

    Your husband surely is a blessing to many and an example of real Christian love to us all. Thank you for sharing and helping us to see opportunities in everything.

    Madeline, what a wonderful devotional for of encouragement and hope for us all and a way to perceive hate differently. Thank you. May many more blessings come your way.

    Thanks for sharing Solomon’s experience with us today Madeline. It is a tremendous example to remember and follow.
    Be blessed.

    Oh Madeline, your words touched me deeply. How the love of our Lord shown in and through your husband, Solomon, is inspiring and a lesson for all of us! What a testimony and witness!
    Blessings and peace to you.

    Great message today. I brought my girls up saying if someone is mean to you to “kill them with kindness”, as they maybe had had a bad day, and no one was ever nice to them. Thanks for sharing your great message.
    (Ontario, Canada)

    Dear Madeline,
    Such a wonderful Christlike reaction and tremendous witness Solomon was to the young man in your devotional today. May his response be the heart cry and desire of us all.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Would that I could express thoughts about Jesus and his love to that man as your husband did. I wonder if I would. We live in a small rural community where the situations are different but there is opportunity to talk about Jesus… if only I would. Thank you for this amazing story.
    (Texas USA)

    Hi Madeline,
    I really enjoyed your devotional this morning. Your husband’s response to his heckler was excellent! I often think responses like that would help ease the friction and wars we live with.
    Kind regards to you both,
    (Alberta, Can.)

    Dear Madeline,
    Thank you for this devotional which really shows how reacting to an angry, upset individual with a heart of compassion and understanding can result in a totally different situation. Your husband truly handled the situation with a heart of Jesus.
    Blessings to you and your husband.

    History has a tendency of repeating itself and your message is as relevant today as it was in 1937. We live in a broken world where too many messages of hatred and fear exist. Two things come to mind. 1) Malachi 2:10 Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? 2) Even a simple act of kindness can be heard by the deaf and seen by the blind. Thank for your important message. Blessings to you and yours.

    WOW!!! What an opportunity Solomon had, bit scary in the beginning but wow, God’s grace and presence was strong.
    It will be interesting to see how this young man turns his life around, it was a God timing event so who knows.
    May we all be so alert that this kind of reaction is the only one we would have.
    God bless you my friend.

    Thank you again for your excellent writing and communicating a positive witness for the Lord. That was a special encounter, and your husband surely followed the Spirit’s guidance in it all. I think I know about the book that he suggested and just today I was listening to a testimony of Dr. Peale that I had on an old cassette tape. He told how his wife helped him in England when he was discouraged in his church in about 1932. It is a great testimony too. Thank you again for alerting me to the devotional and if possible, I will enjoy reading your unedited edition.

    A beautiful devotional! If only we could treat friends, family, and strangers the way Jesus does!
    I was so blessed to be born to Christian parents. We are “white” skinned. I saw a black family at our church when I was 6 and asked my dad about them. He sat me on his knee and taught me the children’s song: “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.” From that day since, I have had a special place in my heart for all of God’s created people. I can simply not imagine what difference our skin color makes! God made us all in His image. After all, when we consider the area of the world where the Garden of Eden was, do we really think that Adam and Eve were blue-eyed blonds? We should be all color blind when it comes to skin tones!
    There was that one black family in our small town. I moved away as a teenager. A few years ago, (now 60 years later) I was visiting there and saw the one my age, at Tim Hortons. I went up to him to chat. He recognized my name and was pleased to see me again. I made the comment, “You’ve stayed in this town all your life!” He said, “Yes. Why would I ever move away from this town? Why, my brother and I were twelve years old before we realized we were black!” I pretended shock and said, “What??? You’re black?” He laughed and gave me a heartfelt hug. We had a chuckle about that! I thought, what a compliment that was for that town of 5000 folks!
    We must look each other up when we all get to Heaven!
    Blessings to you and your husband.

    Thank you, Madeline, for such a helpful devotional.

    What a wonderful story.
    It will be an inspiration to many.

    Dear Madeline,
    What an inspiring lesson and remarkable man your husband is. Thank you for sharing this.

    Hi Madeline,
    I know what you are talking about. When we lived in Vienna, I was told one time that all us foreigners should go back where we came from. It was in front of the church where all us foreigners came for worship. I think he was quite surprised that I understood him and that I replied to him in German. I must admit that I did not invite him to church that morning.
    Thank you for writing.

    Your husband is courageous, it is not easy to face an angry person.

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