Retaliation • Devotion 2

Fairness
Gary Wright

“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 the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” Matthew 5:38-42

When my children were little, their favorite movie was “The Lion King” and we watched it dozens of times. The villain in the movie is a lion named Scar. Scar thinks that he has been done wrong and that he should be the king instead of another lion named Mufasa. At one point in the movie, Scar catches a field mouse that he intends to eat and says to the mouse, “Life’s not fair, is it?” Later in the movie, Scar retaliates and by force, takes over as king by killing Mufasa. We view Scar as the bad guy, but in reality, we are a lot like him. When someone wrongs us, we naturally want to retaliate and take matters into our own hands and make things right.

In Matthew 5:38-42, Jesus is teaching us something radically different than how we want to naturally react. He is teaching us that as believers, we should retaliate with love and forgiveness instead of stooping to the offender’s level. When we become followers of Jesus, He changes our lives. It is no longer about getting even or about things being fair. It is about showing others the love that Jesus has shown us, even to the people that have personally done us wrong. Jesus says in Matthew 5:16 that you should “let your light shine before others.” By showing love and forgiveness instead of retaliation, we are definitely letting our light shine before others. Others will see the difference in our lives, and it then gives us the opportunity to share the Gospel with them.

Before I was a follower of Jesus, if I did not retaliate and try to get even when someone had done me wrong, I considered myself weak; but as a believer, I realized it takes much more strength to respond with love and forgiveness. This kind of strength only comes from Jesus! If this is something you struggle with, pray and ask Jesus for His strength to help you to love and forgive instead of taking matters into your own hands.

Scar from “The Lion King” says, “Life’s not fair, is it?” I do not know about you, but I am glad that life is not always fair. I am glad that Jesus was not fair with me, but gave me love and forgiveness instead of the fairness I deserved.

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