LIFELINES

When you seek your revenge ...

Bettie Marlowe
Posted 7/14/17

A proverb heard during the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in 2002: “When you seek revenge, you dig two graves — one for your enemy and one for yourself.”

The Bible bears this out in its many …

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LIFELINES

When you seek your revenge ...

Posted

A proverb heard during the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in 2002: “When you seek revenge, you dig two graves — one for your enemy and one for yourself.”

The Bible bears this out in its many references to forgiveness, the first in the Lord’s prayer taught to the disciples in Matthew 6: “... forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

This has been demonstrated very recently in Cleveland by Kim Ledford as she reached out to the driver of the car which killed her son. Of course, it wasn’t the easiest thing to do, it cost and took time, but forgiveness brings a freedom that strengthens a person for the future journey, and digs no grave for the forgiver or the forgiven.

But, we say, the hurt done to me is so great — I can’t deal with it.

God doesn’t ask anything of us He doesn’t give us grace to do.

There is a price to pay. In fact, the one who forgives is the one who pays. You give up all claim to self or reputation, putting it all in the hands of Christ. But the reward is always greater. It doesn’t matter whether the person who wronged us asks forgiveness; it doesn’t matter whether he even admits wrong.

There is no justification for holding things in our hearts which will come between God and us. No, forgiveness is not easy. It may cost heartbreak and many tears.

And we just can’t forgive in our own strength. It takes the grace of God. It can’t be done in a flash of self-righteousness. Forgiveness waves no banners nor does it call for attention. How dangerous it is to think a person can say, “I forgive,” and let his mind continue to dwell on the offense until it consumes and buries him in his own misery.

You may have no control over another’s thoughts and actions, but you can choose as to how you will react to adversity. Pet the hurt and it will grow — forgive and it will vanish, leaving the “forgiver” stronger spiritually.

Hurt may come from those closest to us — those we love dearly, counted on them for support and looked to them for counsel. Actually, that is where it is most hurtful, because you’re not expecting an attack from that direction. Psalms 55:12-13, 16 (KJV): “For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have bone it; neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him; But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide and mine acquaintance ... ”

How much did forgiveness cost Jesus? It cost His dying on the cross. It cost God the giving of his “only begotten Son.” But the forgiveness extended farther than the saving of mankind — Jesus was scorned, lied about, blasphemed, accused, physically, attacked, abused and dishonored in his own country before He went to the cross. He forgave all that before he laid down His life.

When Jesus was questioned by Pilate, He “answered him to never a word” (Matthew 27:14 KJV). For all that He suffered, He said, “Forgive ...”

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