I offer thanks and praise to you, God of my fathers,
because you have given me wisdom and power.
And now you have let me know what we asked of you,
for you have let us know the king’s mystery.
Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had assigned to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He came and said to him, “Don’t destroy the wise men of Babylon! Bring me before the king, and I will give him the interpretation.”
In Daniel chapter 2, Daniel not only gives all glory to God, but he is kind to his enemies. The other wise men are not nice guys. They have behaved very badly. Even after Daniel saved their lives, the thanks Daniel gets from these guys is hatred. They don’t even acknowledge that he saved their lives.
Sometimes when you do something very charitable and nice for someone, they hate you for it. I’ve seen it and experienced it myself. I’ve seen people who were so bitter against the person who helped them, they can hardly function anymore. Apparently, it shames them to be the recipient of someone else’s generosity. Instead of being grateful to and for their benefactor, they constantly fight with their own thoughts: “He thinks he’s better than me. … Nothing ever goes right for me. …” Bitterness and malice are common practice toward the very people who have helped the most.
It’s never been godly to simply be kind to those who are kind to us. We don’t extend generosity in order to receive thanks. Jesus says if you behave that way, you are acting like pagans. Pagans are nice to people who are nice to them. We’re supposed to be like Jesus – routinely nice to people who aren’t nice to us.
Picture Jesus hanging on the cross saying, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This blows my mind. But, while I’m sitting here with a blown mind, I hear His Spirit’s voice saying, “Do likewise.”
I think of the first martyr, Stephen. As he is stoned to death, he cries out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” He’s kind to those who not only hate him, but who literally kill him.
People who receive benefit from someone else’s generosity sometimes resent the person who is kind to them. If you are the generous person, what do you do? Do exactly what Daniel did. He’s a good role model. When God blesses you, give Him all the glory and be kind to your enemies. Don’t be kind in order that they might stop being your enemies and not because you have the upper hand; be kind because it’s the right thing to do.