You have heard the phrase ‘an eye for an eye’ and ‘a tooth for a tooth’, which refers to the idea that people should be punished according to the way in which they have offended. For example, if they hurt someone, they should be hurt equally badly in return. But God’s word teaches us something quite different: Love those who wrong us. If someone hurts you with their actions or even their condescending comments, don’t get mad. Pray for them instead.
Simply put, don’t make other people’s voices your concern. And do not even the score with more wrong. Keep in mind, you will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones right back at your offenders.
It’s easier said than done. We are no different from Jesus’s disciples. Our sinful nature encourages us to get angry and get even…
PETER, the apostle, developed the qualities of compassion in humility the hard way. In his early days with Christ, these attitudes did not come naturally to his impulsive, strong-willed personality. But the Holy Spirit changed PETER, molding his strong personality to God’s use, and teaching him tenderness and humility. In our fallen world, it is often deemed acceptable to retaliate by tearing people down verbally if we’ve been hurt. PETER, remembering the words of Jesus [If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also], encourages his readers to pay back wrongs by praying for the offenders. In God’s kingdom, revenge and hurling insults are unacceptable behavior, no matter how indirectly it is done. Rise above seeking revenge against those who hurt you. Instead of reacting angrily to these people, pray for them.
Forging the qualities of compassion in humility is hard work. It may not come naturally to us, but if we ask the Holy Spirit to help us and mold our personality to more closely resemble His Son, He will begin to shape us, bringing us a life filled with peace.
I have learned some lessons the hard way on this topic: First, remember God causes his sun to rise on the righteous and the unrighteous. A gentle reminder, instead of harsh words is usually the appropriate response when repetitive wrong behavior must be addressed. Second, if it’s necessary, you may consider withdrawing from people and places from time to time. Give yourself some space from the world that is filled with millions of mouths that talk too much but never have anything to say. Do it for the sake of your sanity and theirs, and let it be done in love.
Here is what the Lord Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
[Matthew 5:43-46 | NIV]
Let’s cut each other some slack. Don’t let the behavior of others stress you out. You have no control over someone else’s thoughts or their actions. Make patience and love be your daily aims.
Stay blessed my friends.