Stepping Back or Getting Even
What is your first reaction when something bad happens in your life? When you experience a setback, is your gut reaction to lash out and defend yourself—seek revenge on the offending party? Or do you take stock and look around and try to figure out what exactly happened to cause the event to occur? Well, this isn’t really like Newton’s Third Law, but in life, there are always two opposing forces acting against each other; what you want to happen and what actually occurred. How you react to this determines your character.
Our Defense Mechanism
When we have been made the fool, we want to lash out. When we have been wronged, we want revenge. We want to draw our sword from its scabbard and desire to avenge, even more than Inigo Montoya. “Prepare to die.” But if we learn anything from studying the Bible is that it teaches us in Romans, which is a quote from Deuteronomy, it states, ‘“Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord.’
So, what are we to do then? The verse itself tells us to care for our enemies. Interesting, right? But that is not how we would react in normal life, it’s not easy to forgive and forget or to “give it to God,” as so many Bible teachings say it. And if we do manage to release the anger and resentment from our grubby hands, we are quick to snatch it back the moment that triggering incident crosses our mind. So, what now?
Taking the High Road
The above stanza ends with “Overcome evil with good.” Some would call this taking the high road. We set aside the wrong someone has done to us and do good to them. This is part of a bigger picture; forgiveness. First, forgive one another because God forgave you. Second, God has forgiven us so much. What business do we have in holding anything against someone else, much less getting even for something they have done to us? (And if it’s any consolation, God did say vengeance is His… so if someone has wronged you in Him… they will pay for it… Just sayin’).
Bigger and Better Doors
When we miss or lose opportunities, it could be to our benefit. If someone caused a setback or if we just missed an opportunity out of our lack of action, there could, and very well IS, a reason behind it. There are bigger and better doors for you to walk through. You just can’t see them yet. Most likely because you are too focused on the current situation. Your anger and bitterness are blinding you to the open opportunity that lays ahead. As we opened with, it’s time to step back and take stock of what is happening around you.
Consequences to our Actions
So, what if we choose to take the other path? What if we say to heck with forgetting? I am going to get back at this silly sack of suds, and they won’t know what hit them? Well, you may feel good about it; for about thirty seconds. But what benefit will it give you really? A temporary emotion, and then you are left in the same situation you were before the incident even happened or worse, now you are branded with whatever consequence the ‘getting even’ cost you. And now, after the dust clears, you most likely will feel worse because the guilt sets in, especially as a Christ-follower.
Equal and Opposite Reaction
The best reaction to harassment is prayer. The greatest way to overcome a bad situation is prayer. The easiest way to resolve conflict… okay, there is no easy way to resolve conflict, but going to God always gives clarity to difficult situations. Approaching the Lord on your knees or in your own attitude of prayer gives you direct contact with the one who has the answers to your situation. Prayer is the action; God’s answers are the equal and opposite reaction. And just as the Third Law of Motion, it will occur when the first action takes place.