Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.”
A tit for tat approach to conflict is immature and reckless. The need to win the argument, make someone feel as you do (or worse), isn’t something Jesus taught or lived. In my transparency I have to admit, although I’m not one for revenge—as in the context I shared in my September 11th “Grace” message (and some other ones) I just had this in-your-face mirror moment, where the reality of my desire to win an argument is as foolish as plotting my “get back”. It’s basically one in the same. The most obvious difference is that one is less intense and not premeditated. But both are about revenge.
The back and forth that can escalate to yelling and screaming, is the exact same thing this verse is sharing. I don’t have to mirror someone’s negative behavior, and vice versa. I choose to react negatively when someone pushes one of my “buttons”. Imagine if Jesus did that every time he was insulted, angered, and hurt. Imagine Jesus treating people the same way they did him.
The wise and mature person steps back and assesses the situation, and sees it for what it is, a no-win for both sides. No one wins when anger and rage steps in and starts creating a wedge between you and God. No one wins when shouting, cussing, and insults are pulled from the toolbox. None of these things glorify God. You’re not even paying attention to God while fighting someone else. Those tactics don’t bring either side closer to God. Nope, actually it’s the opposite. The darker we become in our messaging the more we resemble an advocate for the enemy.
Did we start off trying to be Team Satan? Nope. But guess what happens when you keep taking verbal jabs, keep stirring the “pot” trying to hurt the other person, or seem superior to them—your jersey begins to transform to represent a team that has no resemblance to God.
It’s stupid, childish, and exactly what the enemy craves. But we’re too ignorant to see this before or even soon after the first sparks fly. No, we may begin to see it minutes, hours, days, or weeks later. But look at the damage that has been caused. How do you repair the mental and spiritual bombs that you chose to detonate? How do you cleanse the savagery from your revenge? How do you right the wrong that you caused when you made something all about you and not about God?
Now I already know the excuses that we can all come up with, the need to defend our actions, defend our honor. Let me say this to you, and to myself—our defense is self-serving and destructive. It doesn’t defend God, and honestly, God doesn’t need defending (He can hold His own), He needs our obedience and alignment to Him.
Any person trying their best to tear you down, make you beg, cry, give in and give up, feel desperate and hopeless, and feel as they do—will only fail— if you instead turn over your cares, worries, fears, and anger to God. There is nothing He doesn’t see, hear, understand, or comprehend. He is all-knowing. He is the problem-solver. You just have to trust and believe that no matter how hard it gets, how rough it becomes, how brutal the psychological, verbal, physical, and financial beatings are–—God has your back and His plan has been in full force long before you became aware you had a problem.
You just have to release everything to Him and have faith that those individuals who have and are causing harm to you and loved ones, will be placed in a position to make a decision about how their lives will proceed either through repentance or in total darkness. We all have choices, and even they had a choice not to take on the role of judge, jury, and executioner; and they will have a choice to give up and turn away from evil, or not. But you will play no role in that, because you will lovingly leave those matters to our Heavenly Father. So free yourself and vow to not cross into and be consumed by the negativity that breeds and grows inside of them.
Don’t take a tool from the enemy. It is a liar, thief, and con artist. It aims to destroy everything and everyone God loves. Every insult you hurl is a bullet from the enemy, aiming right at your relationship with God.
I’ve been in some brutal arguments. Neither side looked like a representative from God. The exchange tore at us, weakened us and our relationship with God. It elevated the enemy and gave it a firmer stronghold in our hearts and lives. It’s a disgusting thought yet we never consider it when we choose to enter that verbal battle. Choose instead to walk with God, away from that approaching storm. No matter how much the other person may try to drag you in, tap into God’s strength and resist. I know I will be tempted several times this week, I pray that God guides me His way, and I obediently follow.
Father, I pray for help. My weakness in feeling the need to react, respond, be right, and be petty, is a glaring indictment against the relationship that I claim to have with You. How can I claim to be Your ambassador when I’m behaving like a fool? How can I speak Your words and later on speak the words of the enemy? That’s like being a double-agent, playing for both sides. It pains me to say these words Father. I don’t like myself when I see what I’ve said and done to dishonor You. I pray for forgiveness and proper alignment. I pray for Your words to be spoken, no matter how much I’m tempted to take the easy route towards darkness.
Father I thank You for righting the wrongs, for making bad things turn out good, for re-directing the wicked, and making sure that I have always been taken care of even in the valley of the shadow of death. Father, You have made the crooked straight so many times that I know there is nothing You can’t do. Because of that and who You are, I never have to seek revenge for what someone has done or said against me or a loved one.
Help me to get my pride, ego, and shame in check. I know that in Your time, which is always the right time, You will make things right. The test, is about the choices I will make. I thank You for Your love, intervention, and forgiveness. I pray to obediently follow You in words and deeds. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Lovingly your sister in Christ,
Copyright 2011-2020. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved. All Prayers and Reflections are Copyright Protected by Natasha L. Foreman. BreakingBreadWithNatasha.com