Summary: We are meant to live as Christians in a "get even" world.
The High Price of Getting Even
November 14, 2004
When I was growing up my sister and I would fight a lot and I mean a lot. We just couldn’t seem to ever get along very well. I remember one day in particular when I was really being hard to get along with. I was teasing her relentlessly and I was drawing the look that I absolutely loved from my sister; the one that told me I was getting on her last nerve. I liked to push her to the envelope and then go just a little bit further.
This day was no exception and I pushed her buttons until I got the look that she had enough and then I pushed a little bit further. That day, I got an unexpected reaction from my sister; she hit me. I couldn’t believe it. I was just joking around with her but now she had gone too far and it was time to call in the heavy artillery; my mom. Surely my mother would not allow such an injustice to go unpunished. So I went to my mom and told her that Patty had hit me and my mother was in rare form as well. I will never forget her response: “Well just hit her back.”
At this point I had to pick my jaw up off the floor because I couldn’t believe it. Mom said to hit her back. This was my moment to get back at my older sister for all of those things that she had done to me. If I had stopped to think this over I would have realized that my mother was not serious about me hitting my sister back. This is one of those moments in life that was just too good to pass up.
I walked back into the room where my sister was and I let her have it. I pulled back and her so hard in the arm that it knocked her over. She grabbed her arm and looked back at me in shock. I had done it and I had gotten her back for the massive injustice done to me. It was just when I was feeling really proud of myself for getting the free shot on my sister that I noticed she was starting to cry.
When my mother got into the room and saw what I had done I was punished. The excuse that she had said I could do it did not hold water. I went to my room for a while and I had to apologize to my sister.
Have you ever felt like getting even with someone? Have you ever just wanted to settle the score with someone who deserved it?
If we are honest with ourselves we have all felt this way at one time or another.
You know the feeling because it comes when…
· A co-worker steals your best ideas and takes the credit for them
· Your spouse gives you the frozen beef treatment – cold shoulder
· A crazy driver cuts you off on the way to work and then has the nerve to slow down.
· The critic who sees everything you do painted with negative brushstrokes
· The boss who calls you to the carpet for no good reason
· The gossip who can’t wait to share the juicy tidbit about you
The sad fact is that we live in a “get even” world and often adopt a “get even” mind set. We sometimes do more than just want to get back at those who wrong us, we actually do it and we “punch” them. We would never actually hit someone but we do things that hurt just as bad as a punch to the gut.
· We tear others down with the words that we use
· We lash out with false accusations about things that others have supposedly done
· We look at people to find nothing but the worst in them and then share it with others
· We search for little ways to get under their skin just to be an annoyance
If you have ever crossed that line from wanting to get even to “getting even”; you’ve seen the reality. Getting even never brings any true satisfaction.
Getting even is the world’s way of doing things, so what is the Jesus wants us to do things? Open your bibles to Matthew 5:38-42.
38 "You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.