Summary: The emotion that wells up within us to “get even” is about control, consequences, and vindication. Relational issues are never JUST relational issues!
Getting Even Somehow
1. Nobody likes a power outage. You may light oil lamps or use LED lanterns.
2. You enter a room, try to turn on a light switch. There is a lot of psychology there.
3. This is even true of an internet our computer outage. We have become so dependent upon them, that we experience anxiety when we are offline.
4. We may live much of our lives disconnected from fellowship w/God, & we don’t even realize what we are missing; perhaps we have never had a close relationship w/ God, or so distracted by the culture/entertainment, we forget what we once had.
5. Difference between fellowship and salvation.
6. But sin, especially relational sin, can disconnect our fellowship quickly.
I Peter 3:7, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Main Idea: The emotion that wells up within us to “get even” is about control, consequences, and vindication. Sometimes we feel this way because we have been wronged, and sometimes we feel this way because we did not get our way. Relational issues are never JUST relational issues!
I. Tolerating WRONGS from An Enemy (21-22)
A. Many wrongs are legal and you are POWERLESS to address them.
1. Not a legal matter or criminal activity.
2. It does not contradict the command of Deuteronomy 19:18-19, “The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”
3. Most of the wrongs done to us will not be judged in court, and we are to absorb modest losses rather than go to court.
B. Jesus EXEMPLIFIED the right attitude toward His enemies.
1. Consider that Jesus could have called 10,000 angels.
2. I Peter 2:23, “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.”
C. God will EVEN the score in His time. (Consolation; more faith in this fact, better)
D. We benefit by handling being wronged RIGHTLY.
1. Clear conscience, fellowship with God, way to love others, reward in glory
2. Sometimes we feel ashamed or humiliated, and lash out in defense of our character. This makes us look more foolish and in the wrong; sometimes the best defense is no defense, at other times we need to speak up…fairness of the person we are dealing with can determine this…
Application: Relational issues, like handling being wronged rightly, affect our fellowship with God! Relational issues are never JUST relational issues!
II. Reacting to Infuriating BACKBITING(23)
A. Consider the source: backbiting is INEVITABLE.
B. Being back bitten will make you ANGRY.
• I don’t want to hear what people say about me behind my back. I have learned to stifle some of my curiosity, unless I have offended someone.
• A serious problem in the early church. Galatians 5:15 “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”
• David’s son, Absalom, did this to his father.
C. Remind yourself that you are guilty of this same SIN somewhere along the way!
Ecclesiastes 7:21, “Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.”
Application: Backbiting hurts us in ways difficult to describe. Relational issues affect our fellowship with God! Relational issues are never JUST relational issues!
III. Determining To CONTROL Ones Spouse (24)
A. Here, the wife has embraced a MEAN attitude.
B. Do mean women seek out weak men, or do the women become mean in RESPONSE?
1. Some people are just short tempered.
2. One woman writes, “THE DILEMMA I'm not very nice to my husband often (and also my son, sometimes). Yet I love them both deeply. I find myself getting irritated by the most trivial of events, which leads me to lose my temper and lash out and say horrible things. I keep thinking I must try to control myself, but I don't change. I have a responsible job and manage a team of people, and at work I am mostly calm, though I have a bit of a reputation for being fiery. My husband is the most patient and kind person and I feel like I'm taking advantage of his generous nature. Am I goading him into a reaction and, if so, why? I'm worried that I'll drive him away. Often I feel ashamed of my behaviour, but rarely apologise. It's just not nice being like this. I want to be a nicer person. [www.theguardian.com].