The world tells us: “Don’t get mad. Get even.” Our schooling on this principle begins early. At one family gathering, I saw a 1-year-old girl get mad at her 1-year-old cousin for taking up too much of their grandma’s attention. The upset little girl smacked her cousin, who responded with a puzzled expression. Some of the adults in the room advised the hurt little girl that she’d have to learn to smack back.
We’re taught early and often that if we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will. It’s no wonder we have a hard time digesting such verses as 1 Peter 3:8-9: “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
Clearly, God does not agree with the “get even” principle. He commands His people to be kind and merciful — because He has been kind and merciful to us. So the next time you have the urge to “smack back,” remember how God reacted to you when you were still in rebellion against Him. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus blessed us with mercy. To show our gratitude, we are to share His blessing with others.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
Your Turn: Have you found “gratitude” to be an effective motivator for forgiving others?