I don’t get mad, I get even! I know some folks who live that way, are we one of them? We want the right to get back at those who we think harmed us. We want to see them get what we think they deserve. There are times when we want to be the one inflicting justice. What do you think Christ would say about that? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Getting even, claiming our rights, making sure we are treated fairly are all things each one of us feel we have the right to do. Our country was built on the premise that we each have certain unalienable rights. When we feel we are mistreated or taken advantage of we want justice.
What is justice? In a nutshell it means that the right thing is done. It means the punishment fits the crime. We do not want anyone to get away with anything. Even in the simplest circumstance we want to exact justice. Think about someone cutting the line, it takes tremendous restraint not to say something. We talk to ourselves, mumble under our breath, even wonder out loud, was what that person did right?
I remember once being told at the DMV to go out to my car and get the information and then just come back in and go to the front of the line. I wasn’t sure I would make it out of there after cutting in front of all those people, but I did what they told me and apologized to everyone who didn’t know that I had already stood in the line.
Sometimes we want to enact justice without knowing the whole story. That leads us to what we need to work on; grace. Before we go off thinking we know the deal, it might be better to respond with grace until the whole story is revealed.
We should try to extend grace to someone who does something to us that we don’t appreciate. Try as we might though we struggle to fight back the urge to express our displeasure. We struggle with the desire to let them know what they did was wrong, in our eyes, and needing acknowledgement that we are right. Most times when, as Paul Harvey would say, we get the rest of the story we are more willing to forgive and accept the transgression. Why do we need to have it all spelled out for us? Why can’t we just leave it in God’s hands and let Him work it out?
Funny thing about justice is we want it for others but for us we prefer forgiveness. Sometimes we want revenge when we should show compassion. Listen to what Christ has to say about it;
Matthew 5:38-42; “You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Turn the other cheek, this is where it originated. Jesus gave us that instruction when we are faced with the prospect of getting even. This is a very difficult instruction for us to deal with because it puts the control out of our hands. We want to decide what judgment is exercised against those, who we perceive, wronged us.
If you have been following these past few weeks you will notice a consistent theme, let go and let God. You see Jesus wants us to realize that we need to turn it over to God. He wants to release us of the burden of trying to control things. Some of us are control freaks and we need to be in control of everything. Jesus wants us to relinquish control to him and live free of that burden.
If you don’t think it is a burden, try releasing it. Let the day come to you. Don’t try to control things, just let them happen. Let the other guy go first. Let someone cut in front of you. If you begin to get uncomfortable then you are a control freak. It is a burden.
Don’t repay evil with evil, turn the other cheek. Do the unexpected, don’t get even. Try it out this week and see if things don’t turn out different. They will and you will be released from the burden of control. As we practice this our desire to control things diminishes and we learn how to be gracious. Remember, before God we deserve justice but He has chosen to extend to us His grace.