[forthright] Retaliation

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Thu, 09 Feb 2006 17:05:07 -0600
Forthright Magazine
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Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: Scriptures Speak

Retaliation
by Jimmy Jividen

If we are hurt, put down, abused, or cheated, our
first impulse is to "get even" or "get back." The
law of Moses allowed this. It was eye for eye and
tooth for tooth. The attitude was, "If you hurt
me, I will hurt you." Jesus taught us to respond
in a different way.

"You have heard that it was said, an eye for an
eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do
not resist him who is evil" (Matthew 5:38,39).

Jesus knew that evil cannot be conquered by
retaliation. Returning evil for evil only serves
to perpetuate and magnify the wrong. Retaliation
does not help the retaliator -- anger, resentment,
and hate still remain in his heart. It does not
help the one who received retaliation. It only
makes him want to strike back again. Strife cannot
cease between two enemies until one decides to
absorb the wrong without seeking retaliation.
Jesus' death exemplified this.

"...and while being reviled, He did not revile in
return; while suffering, He uttered no threats,
but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges
righteously" (1 Peter 2:23).

This does not mean that evil will not be punished
or righteousness will not be vindicated. God will
take care of vengeance in his own good time and in
his own way. Paul encouraged Christians to pay
back good for evil.

"Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave
room for the wrath of God, for it is written,
vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.
But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he
is thirsty, give him drink ... Do not be overcome
by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans
12:19-21).

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