My older brother ran down the stairs, tears streaming from his eyes.
A few seconds later, I descended the stairs, trying to catch him on my three-year-old legs. When my brother and I arrived in the living room, our mom was startled and concerned. She asked my brother what was wrong and why he was crying. My brother mustered an answer through his tears, "Grant hit me for no reason."
Before my mom had a chance to respond, I exclaimed with agitation, "That’s not true! He’s lying! I didn't hit him for no reason. I kicked him for no reason."
When I reflect on that story, I chuckle. But I also feel terrible about the way I treated my brother. He didn't deserve the treatment I gave him.
Jesus highlighted His followers’ tendency to twist God’s Word to justify seeking revenge. Many of Jesus’ followers thought if they were mistreated they should mistreat in return. But Jesus commissioned them to respond in a counter-cultural way … to go above and beyond the expectation. Jesus says if someone steals our shirt or coat, we shouldn’t retaliate. Instead, we should offer them another article of clothing just to break the expectation.
Sometimes we're treated in ways we don't deserve. A friend abandons us, a coworker gossips about us, a family member manipulates us, or a boss undervalues us. Our tendency is to retaliate and to get even with those who mistreat us. Jesus wants us to respond differently … to love without holding anything back.
When you’re treated in ways you don't deserve, respond with love, not revenge.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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