Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Don't Get Mad - Get Even?

Romans 12:10 "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another... 17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."
In the past, I have had a temper, even road rage. If anyone crossed me, heaven forbid my anger. Most people who know me have the impression that I am mild-mannered. I am fairly well contained now, but it wasn't always that way. I hate to admit it, but I apparently hated people who crossed me. What is worse, is that I only had the perception of being wronged!

For instance, in my Jeep, I made a driving error. I was in the wrong but a young male passenger in the other car made and obscene gesture. I actually abandoned my Jeep at the light in heavy traffic and confronted him in anger. The Lord symbolically grabbed me by the collar, and I cooled down but not until my self-centered nature had been exposed as if my soul was naked! Being a Christian, regardless of his attitude, I was in the wrong. I had not "kindly affection" for this young man, and it was even my fault!

On the other hand, a lady at my church made the same mistake with a driving error. A young man made and obscene gesture. Her response was, "Forgive me Lord for making that young man sin." She didn't get mad or get even. I did! She did not recompense to no man evil for evil but I did!

My relationship with my fellow man was without peace. I was itching for recompense, and God called me for it. I don't react that way anymore. Any feeling of satisfaction with getting even is of Satan. Here I was, in the wrong, disciplining this unruly young man with unrulingness. Guess what God must have thought: you hypocrite - in reference to me!

This young man was going to face discipline because of his obscene gesture. However, It's not my job to be the disciplinarian. Vengeance, or justice, is not mine -  it's the Lord's. Here I was playing God again, as people tend to do. I needed to get into my head - I'm not God. I'm not even a god!  When people obstruct our superior image, most people strike back. That is not the Christian thing to do! 

I have had people who I have hurt. We all have. Their attitude was: don't get mad - get even!  This is a tad better than my own: get mad and get even!  First off, we all make mistakes. My life is riddled by them, and so is yours. We all sin. You do too! Albeit, my sin is always greater than your sin in your own eyes, and vice-versa. People react to the sins of another by isolation, if not anger. The attitude of the wronged person is that the other is never to be trusted again. If we all behaved that way against Christians who sinned, there would never be an Christian communion nor brotherly love. 

All Christians are sinners. We are to ask for forgiveness from God, and those who we have offended. The response from God is forgiveness and forgetting, but from the wronged person we seem to get neither. Why? Because if it's not put behind one, it's not truly forgiveness.  What if Jesus forgave but quit being our friend? That would not be forgiveness. That would be holding a grudge. Jesus doesn't forgive that way, and neither should we!

Discord within a church keeps the Holy Spirit from comforting. In order to be in the Spirit, we must be of one accord. That requires that Christians be kind and affectionate to each other. In stress, let their be amicability. When wrong is done, let God resolve it. Punishing another Christian by isolation and ostracizing is meting out vengeance on one's own. That's God's job. Ours is to love one another, and that is without condition!

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