It’s Payback Time
Bible Reading: Romans 12:17-21
Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. Romans 12:19
Ever had any of the following-or something like them-happen to you? Check the boxes by those to which you can relate.
□ A little brother or sister breaks something of yours.
□ A so-called friend tells others something about you that’s not true.
□ Somebody gets mad at you and pounds on you.
□ You get left out of the biggest party of the year.
□ An older brother or sister treats you like you’re a pain.
Somewhere, sometime, somehow you’ve probably been wronged in one or more of those very unhappy ways. So what was your first response?
□ Do unto the other person what he did unto you-only twice as bad.
□ Thump your brother’s or sister’s head.
□ Send a note with “Dear Ex-Friend” as its opening line.
□ Say something really bad about the person who said unkind things about you.
□ Never listen or talk to this person again.
Have you ever noticed that inside our brain there seems to be a payback chip? Whenever we’re wronged, a little switch inside of us flips on and tells us to do unto others as they have done unto us—and maybe a little worse. We’ve all felt at least a momentary urge to get back at someone who has been unkind to us.
Since we’re all tempted in this way at times, how should we respond? Once again Jesus, our Savior, shows us the way to go. If anybody deserved to lash back at unfair treatment, it was God’s Son. Jesus never sinned—he never did anything wrong and never even thought about it. “When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly” (1 Peter 2:23). God the Father knew the treatment his Son received was rotten beyond belief. And he knew exactly what kind of payback it required. God is our heavenly Father too, and he will watch out for us and pay back—in his own way and time—any wrongs done to us.
TALK: When you are wronged, what’s your usual reaction? How does your attitude change when you think about the fact that you can trust God to pay back your enemies perfectly?
PRAY: Jesus, help us give up our desire to get even. We trust you to help us work through all of our conflicts.
ACT: Is there anyone you’re at war with? Call a truce today.