Reaction Action

“Action has killed its thousands. Reaction its tens of thousands.” —E. Stanley Jones

  • Yes, he pulled out in front of you [action], but is tailgating him any better [reaction]?
  • Sure, she embarrassed you [action], but is slandering her any better [reaction]?
  • Yep, he lied to you [action], but is harboring a lifelong grudge any better [reaction]?
  • Okay, she tripped you [action], but is slapping her any better [reaction]?
  • That pastor betrayed your confidence [action], but is assassinating his character any better [reaction]?

“Vengeance is a passion to get even. It is a hot desire to give back as much pain as someone gave you. … The problem with revenge is that it never gets what it wants; it never evens the score. Fairness never comes. The chain reaction set off by every act of vengeance always takes its unhindered course. It ties both the injured and the injurer to an escalator of pain. Both are stuck on the escalator as long as parity is demanded, and the escalator never stops, never lets anyone off.” —Lewis Smedes

“But I tell you not to try to get even with a person who has done something to you. When someone slaps your right cheek, turn and let that person slap your other cheek.” —Jesus Christ

Getting Away With Evil?

I’ve had some particularly mean and untrue words fired at me recently. It hurts. Especially because so many of these barbs have no redemptive quality to them… there is no attempt at even trying to bring about restoration. So many of the statements are intended merely to harm me, not to help me.

During these times I’m especially drawn to the psalms; even more specifically to the psalms written by David.

Psalm 10 captures the emotion I sometimes struggle with when these unwarranted attacks come in. David asks, “Why do these people get away with evil? God, don’t You see what they’re doing? Don’t You hear what they’re saying? How can You let them spew such venom and not bring them to account for it?

My feelings exactly!

Psalm 10 ends with, “God hears, He is aware, He will defend.” But I find myself wanting more than that!

Then I noticed the footnote in my NIV Bible. It says that Psalm 9 and 10 form one psalm in the Septuagint (Greek) Bible; that they were originally written as a single poem.

Ah hah!

In Psalm 9 David tells us why he can praise God and rejoice in Him and sing praises to Him.
• God turns back David’s enemies.
• God upholds David’s cause.
• God judges righteously.
• God completely uproots the wicked.
• God is a refuge for the oppressed.
• God never forsakes those who seek Him.
• God avenges.
• God does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.
• God is known by His justice.
• God makes sure the hope of the afflicted never perishes.
• God lets men know He is God and they are just men.

The wicked may seem to gain the upper hand, but it’s only for a moment. God’s righteousness will always prevail. What a comfort to know God is my Defender!

Why do I need to go through these tough times? Because when (not if!) God delivers me, I can praise Him with even greater zeal! He is exalted even more highly when people see His justice and righteousness.

My friend, if you are going through a battle right now, run to God. Don’t attack your enemies. Let God be God and let Him deal with men in His righteous justice. Praise Him for He will prevail mightily!

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