January 14, 2015

Resolution Not Retaliation

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 14, 2015

But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Matthew 5:39

Several years ago a friend discouraged another organization from endorsing a product I was promoting. I took it personally. I felt let down and abandoned. I was hurt, since what I believed was a complimentary product was presented as a competitive one by my colleague. Sadly, I retaliated with a defensive and angry attitude. I bruised my buddy’s spirit and risked losing (up to this point) a very meaningful relationship. Fortunately, after a cooling down period of a few days, I apologized and we discussed ways to help each other. I focused on resolutions not retaliation.

Jesus brought this revolutionary teaching of seeking resolutions over retaliation into a culture that taught, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Retaliation was standard operating procedure for this society. However, the attitude of “I don’t get mad—I get even” was not an option for Christ. He understood how pride wants to fight back when it doesn’t get its way. But grace is able to overcome the get even mindset. Where pride is absent there is nothing to prove. Jesus brings calm and contentment to circumstances primed for a fight. Peace trumps payback.

“Repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

Who has created conflict in your life? How can you bless them instead of cursing them? Perhaps a person took advantage of your trust. You did your part, but they did not return the favor. You can be combative or choose to bless them in the process of discussing viable resolutions. Give them respect while you verify their intentions. Document discussions. A letter of understanding tends to clarify expectations. Ultimately, once you’ve exhausted all options,—it may be that you will not work together, but you will not retaliate. Accept one another’s differences and look for ways to still support each other.

Furthermore, we look to our heavenly Father for help in resolving issues. His love provides relational lubricant that smoothes the way for resolution. The Holy Spirit seasons our conversations with a taste of trust, a garnish of grace and appetizing outcomes. If we resist someone because we suspect their motives we may miss an opportunity to bless them. God’s part is to handle a heart’s intentions—our part is to be available as a channel for His love. We turn another cheek and trust Christ to avenge any wrong. God will lead us into His wise resolutions.

“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths” (Psalm 25:4).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me into resourceful ways for resolutions not retaliation.

Related Readings: Hosea 3:1; Proverbs 20:22; Acts 10:28; Romans 12:17

Post/Tweet this today: Grace is able to overcome the get even mindset. #resolutionsnotretaliation #wisdomhunters

Additional Resource: John MacArthur’s blog- Turn the other Cheek: http://www.gty.org/resources/bible-qna/BQ122611/Turn-the-Other-Cheek

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