Retaliation #3 – Silent Retaliation
Ryan Story | Student Pastor
Think about a time when someone in your family wronged you. Let us be honest, conflict in the family is there. How did you handle that situation? Now as a Christ follower and person who is striving to act like Jesus in every situation that arises, I am sure you handled it in the most God honoring way; eventually. Sadly, whenever a conflict arises in my life, resolution is not the first word that comes to mind. The first word that comes to mind is retaliation. If someone wrongs me, I love running to Deuteronomy 19:21 and declaring that God wants me to exact revenge on those who hurt me. I love using Samson as an example in Judges 15 and burning people’s lives down. Now clearly these acts of aggressive retaliation are wrong, sinful, and not Christ-like. If you are one who is overly aggressive to retaliate, that is a dangerous place to be. However, there is a new modern form of retaliation that I feel destroys families at the same extent, just at a slower pace.
Think of a time where you were passively retaliating towards someone. Be honest there was a time you were upset with someone and instead of going to them like Jesus says to (Matthew 18:15-19) you are critical of the person, your humor is hostile at its core, you ignore the person, you become two faced with them, or you just unreasonably blame that person for EVERYTHING. Passive aggressiveness is becoming one of the major pitfalls in God’s people’s lives. I was searching and searching in the Bible for a good story that could be used as an example of passive retaliation, and it finally dawned on me to look back at the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. Read Genesis 3 sometime and be honest, how often do you act like the Serpent. He tells half-truths. He has an issue with Adam and Eve but never comes out and addresses it. He is an enemy disguised as a friend. He is “trying to help” but his intentions are hostile to the core. Be honest this is how we handle conflict sometimes, and let us be really honest with ourselves, this is how we handle conflict with our own family.
We live in a world that tries to tell people that conflict is a bad thing, and it should be avoided at all costs. Now I am not advocating all-out war, but why would Jesus discuss conflict management? Clearly, He knew that there would be issues with God’s children; clearly, He knew we had to have a better way to deal with issues than just killing each other or cutting them out of our lives. In your family (or your life), who do you need to go chat with? Are your conflict battle tactics ruining your family because you are embodying the enemy instead of our Savior? Take some time this week to undo the mess. Take some time to gain back a family member.