"I Don't Get Mad..."

September 22, 2023 (5 months ago)

“I get even…” You’ve probably heard that before, maybe you’ve said it. It’s often said with a tone of rightness, as if getting even is more virtuous than getting mad. Retaliation is as natural for a fallen human as eating a cookie. Our old nature is prone to it. But what about the new nature? Should retaliation be natural for the believer? Some might think it is evil to do nothing in response to evil. The Sermon on the Mount is a masterpiece of ethical advice. Jesus is the Master Teacher. His words are known, though not often practiced. He said, "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.” Jesus was not suggesting that defending yourself or those you love is wrong. It would be unloving to let another person get beat up when it was in your power to stop it. However, taking revenge into our own hands is another matter. Retaliation keeps conflict alive and someone needs to stop the cycle. The follower of Jesus is the one who should take this initiative. Not because evil is being condoned but because we believe that our good Father will make things right. In fact, as we’ll see on Sunday, a new cycle needs to be started, not of revenge, but of blessing. Maybe we ought to start a new phrase, “I don’t get mad, I bless.” J