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Proverbs 20:22

Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.

When somebody wrongs you, what is your immediate reaction? Do you seek to even the score…pay them back…give them a taste of their own medicine? It’s amazing how quickly our hearts and minds move towards retribution. Being made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27) means we are born with a sense of justice, but because of our sin-soaked minds, we are incapable of administering that justice in a righteous manner…let alone being able to rightly identify a true injustice in the first place.

The Apostle Paul described man’s natural instincts this way: “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving diverse lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). Rather than returning evil for evil, an obedient Christ-follower will return good for evil and avoid the blinding danger of grudges and revenge, calming his enemies with kindness and patience, and glorifying God in a difficult matter (Rom. 12:17-21).

It is also important to consider what “getting even” might look like, because it isn’t always as obvious as punch to the nose. Getting even can take the form of “the silent treatment” …or spreading rumors and innuendo. Getting even might involve cutting remarks or an on-going attitude of disgust and dismissal. For some of us, it might involve malice towards the people around the person who wronged you. In the most extreme cases, getting even can lead to physical harm or even death. None of us can be trusted to even any score at any time, which is why we must leave that in God’s hands.

Who are your enemies today? Are there any that you resent? Are you harboring a grudge or thoughts of revenge against someone? Maybe your spouse? Maybe a colleague or boss at work? A neighbor? Maybe a church member? Confess your sin to God and look for opportunities to befriend them. Treat them as you want them to treat you, not as they have treated you (Luke 6:27-36). This is true wisdom. This is true Christianity.

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