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Entries in Get Even (2)

Tuesday
Oct102017

Avengers [Please Do Not] Assemble!

Kaley Faith Rhea is a funny, faith-filled young woman with a strong voice for the Lord. In this Attitude UPGRADE, she encourages us to not repay "evil for evil."

"Want to know something the Bible goes over and over and over again? I’m not talking about love or peace or forgiveness," Kaley says. "I’m talking VENGEANCE."

Something about that word makes me (Dawn) shudder. That couldn't possibly be a Christian issue, right? Oh, yes it is. Often.

Kaley continues . . .

Don’t get me wrong. I like a good Marvel movie or book as much as the next gal. Sometimes more. Sometimes maybe too much. I might be watching Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as I write this. Who knows?

But seriously, take a look with me at what the Scripture says about revenge. It’s in there a shocking number of times.

“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

Well, that’s just one instance of ... Oh, wait.

“See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

Okay, so twice it’s… Hmmm.

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (Romans 12:17).

I’d almost say Scripture is beating a dead horse about the subject, but it seems like it’s actually all about blessing the dead horse and repaying the dead horse’s evil with good.

Wait, what?

Do we even struggle that much with the desire for revenge in our modern, everyday lives?

When I think of the word "vengeance," I think of blood feuds or wrathful vendettas of old. But we come across vengeance every day.

  • Sometimes we call it “getting even.”
  • Or making sure someone “gets what they deserve.”
  • Or even “standing up for myself.”

To be clear, if someone has hurt you and remains unrepentant, it may be very necessary to place boundaries on that relationship. And if you are in an abusive situation, do not let anyone tell you you have an obligation to remain there.

But I’m talking about that very human, very dark instinct that is able to rationalize and even righteous-ize the thinking for slights big and small:

“I am hurt. And in my anger, all I want is for you to hurt too.”

Paul wrote,

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:18-21).

  • Seeking to get even robs you of your peace.
  • It reveals a lack of trust in the Lord.
  • It obliterates an opportunity to show the love of Christ.

Did you notice the part where it says “If possible, so far as it depends on you”? It won’t always be possible to live peaceably with everyone.

Where there is sin, you may be called to lovingly confront. Whether that person responds peacefully or with the same kind of love is up to them. But, beloved, “never avenge yourselves.”

If this seems impossible, well, it is. This is something we need to ask Jesus to do in and through us. Every day. Every time a car cuts us off or a coworker whispers behind our backs.

Let Jesus be your example and your strength. That way, as He works in you and through you to take a bad situation and do something good, God gets all the glory.

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:21-23).

So by all means, dress like Thor or Wasp or Ms. Marvel or any of the other Avengers for your costume parties this year. But when you do, use the opportunity as a reminder for your heart that the One we really want to look most like is Jesus.

When are you tempted to seek revenge? Which of the three everyday examples of "revenge" do you struggle with most?

Kaley Faith Rhea is a co-author of the Christian rom-com novel, Turtles in the Road, with two more books in the works to release in 2018. She also co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.

Article adapted from the Bible study companion to Turtles in the Road.

Graphic adapted, Open clip art vector courtesy of Pixabay.

Thursday
Mar022017

"Even Though"—How to Upgrade Angry Reactions

Kolleen Lucariello's desire is to help people embrace their identity in Christ in practical ways. In this Attitude UPGRADE, she deals with anger and how our relationship with the Lord can change our responses.

"Don’t Get Mad, Get Even. This thought randomly ran through my mind,” Kolleen says, “as Pat and I traveled south down the Interstate in early January.

I (Dawn) was just cut off on a San Diego highway as a man quickly moved from one lane— across mine—to rush toward an off-ramp, putting several cars in danger. I panicked, and oh yes, I got that sudden angry response. Kolleen has a insight for us about how to deal with life's tough circumstances with a more scriptural response.

Kolleen continues . . .

Our GPS was programmed to guide us straight to the driveway of our son and daughter-in-law’s home, and I had just witnessed one more incidence of road rage on the highway (and my husband was not involved!).

We’ve observed some pretty scary moments during our travel time when angry drivers decide they wouldn’t get mad—they’d get evenbehind the wheel of a vehicle.

I was surprised a few days later when this same thought crossed MY mind as I felt my mad inside begin to rise. Don’t get mad, get even.

It’s been quite a few years since that’s been my motto for getting through life. Yet, over the next few days, the slightest irritation brought this phrase to mind.

I began to notice how effortlessly it is for some to quickly move into the get even lane.

But why had I?

Where was this sudden urge to get even for every offense coming from?

  • Did I have suppressed anger?
  • Was the constant chatter on social media making me hostile?
  • Hormones, maybe?

I decided it was time to pray and ask God to fill me in.  That’s when one word was added to the statement.

Though.

Now, the sentence running through my mind was, don’t get mad, get even… though. With an emphasis on even though.

Just a few days later I read this, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he [even though a slave] became a successful and prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian” (Genesis 39:2, AMP).

There it was, even though, and along with it, came my answer.

You upgrade your reaction when you:

1. Trust God is with you, even though you’re distressed, full of anguish and your cry seems unheard.

His very own brothers had sold Joseph into slavery. Can you imagine?  They saw the distress and anguish as Joseph pleaded for them to let him go but, the Amplified Bible says, they “would not listen to his cry” and he found himself a slave in another country (Genesis 42:21).

All betrayal is rough, but betrayal by a spouse, sibling, parent or the closest of friends strikes a devastating blow.

Betrayal inflicts such intense anguish and distress, you may wonder how you will ever survive. We can become slaves to the pain as we find ourselves wandering in a strange, unknown and unwanted land, where cries for mercy go unheard.

But just as God was with Joseph, even though he found himself in Egypt, He is with us in our even though land too.

2. Trust God is able to prosper you and bring you success, even though your circumstances are not what you dreamed.

Remember Joseph’s dreams? Sheaves bowed down to him. Evidently, he was able to move on from the delay of the dream. He excelled in everything that he did even though he was a slave; and because the Lord was always with him, he found success and prosperity.

I’m certain Joseph never imagined he’d find himself a slave in Egypt. He’s the perfect example for us of someone living out Colossians 3: 23-24:

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (NIV).

The Lord is with those who protect their attitude even though the work might not be exactly what we dreamed.

3. Trust God’s purposes even though we may not understand them at the time.

Something I find remarkable in the story of Joseph is this: not once is there any mention of Joseph plotting in his heart how to get even with anyone who betrayed himnot his brothers, Potiphar’s wife, nor the chief cupbearer who failed to follow through on his promise to remember Joseph when he was released from prison. Not even Potiphar for assuming the worst and never seeking to hear his side of the story. Not once.

Instead, he saw God in the even though when he stood face to face with his brothers and recognized that even though they intended evil towards him, God’s intended purpose was for good.

Rather than living by the don’t get mad, get even motto, add the word though as a reminder of how God can bless us in our even though moments.

Are you going through something right now that tempts you to get even? How can the truth of “even though” help you upgrade your reaction?

Kolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, is the author of the devotional book, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. Kolleen and her high school sweetheart, Pat, reside in Central New York. She’s a mother of three married children and Mimi to four incredible grandkids. She desires to help others find their identity in Christ, one letter at a time. Connect with Kolleen here.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Megapixelstock, Stocksnap.io.