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Most action movies I have seen have some aspect of revenge in their storyline. And I must admit it, when the bad guy finally gets killed, I find myself agreeing with the hero as he says “The guy was a jerk and deserved everything he got!” Am I the only one?

Some friends of mine were driving me home one night when we came across a drunk man walking home and because we knew him, we offered him a lift. He was an alcoholic friend and we had been encouraging him to take action and get help.

While he was in the car we talked to him about other things, but as he got out I expressed my concern with his drunkenness and encouraged him to find help. All of a sudden he was furious. He dragged me from the car and was extremely offended that I should suggest that he even had a problem. How dare I judge him! He began to hit me in the face. His blows stung at first but as he continued, my head became numbed.

I thought how crazy this was – a drunk man beating me up and I could not even fight my way out of a wet paper bag. It took some time for my friends to get him off me. I had no choice but to offer him the other cheek, but is this the kind of thing Jesus is advocating in Matthew 5:38-48. If I had known how to fight I am sure I would have defended myself and perhaps injured him. As it was, some time later, he apologized to me so sincerely, and we prayed together as he admitted that he really did have a problem.

Jesus says in Matthew 5:38-48 (NLT) “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also...."

Sometimes I look at passages like this and think that Jesus is so naïve. In my arrogance, I am wrong of course. When I think it through it makes a whole lot more sense than first meets the eye. Thanks Lord.

God’s focus seems to be for me to show mercy, rather than get my own back. I can make a choice not to press charges. I am to look for other ways which will preserve the relationship above my rights for justice whenever this is possible.

Actually getting revenge is all about me and the wrong done to me. It’s essentially SELF CENTRED and rather destructive in the sense that it desires to strike out towards another person to gain satisfaction, and that person ends up ruling my life. That can’t be right!

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