“Well the Christian thing to do would be (Insert morally acceptable reaction here) But If it were me I would (Insert probably bad advice here)”
Let me stop you right there. I am almost positive that if you are reading this, you have definitely heard these words come out of the mouth of someone whom seems to be looking out for your best interest at heart, correct? Not to imply their intent is to harm, but there are two things that one should take into consideration before implementing the “if it were me” advice.
A) If someone encourages you to react in a manner that is not cool, calm, collected, or kind then it is usually for the purpose of bringing them entertainment and less to do with bringing you peace.
“Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God, and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.” 2 Corinthians 5:11
B) Along with revenge, in any form, comes consequences. These consequences can be a stain on your soul, your heart, your conscience. Although retaliation may feel justified in the moment, it will not stay this way. Innocence is defined as ‘lack of guile or corruption; purity.’ This is changed the moment you choose to react rashly. So many different ugly emotions can arise as a result (Guilt, sadness, bitterness towards the person who brought you to that level, bitterness towards your help, overall unhappiness)
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9
“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15
We cannot control the behavior of others. We can only control our response. It sounds like a lot of biting your tongue and feeling miserable but there are so many benefits for choosing the morally compassionate path that God has instructed us to take.
- You remain Blameless
- Your self-esteem. Choosing Kindness shows strength & purity. More of less, it feels good to do the right thing.
- You have put to practice faith in our Lord. He informs us that revenge is his and his only. He chooses how ugly behavior should be punished and this is because he is an understanding, merciful, gracious God.
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay.’ says the Lord” Romans 12:19
Above it all, remember you are being an influence for others. Consider the possibility that someone may not know how to practice love because they have experienced little to none of it. Use this as an opportune time to show them Love. When you are asked why you chose to do the right thing instead of giving a response that emotionally felt justified in the moment, let them know “because this is how my God instructed to me to be. I will choose to be forgiving and gracious because God has been forgiving and gracious towards me.”
If all else fails, ask What Would Jesus Do?
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32