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

Life’s Hardest Work

I’ve been reading through the life of Joseph in the Bible. If anyone had a lot to forgive, it was Joseph:

  • Sold out by his own brothers
  • Falsely accused and imprisoned
  • Forgotten in prison
  • Waiting years and years for God’s promise

Yet, he forgave so fully and so freely. Forgiveness isn’t easy. In fact, it may be one of the hardest things to do.

Here are a few quotes I’m mulling about forgiveness:

“We all agree that forgiveness is a beautiful idea until we have to practice it.” —C.S. Lewis

“For we find that the work of forgiveness has to be done over and over again. We forgive, we mortify our resentment; a week later some chain of thought carries us back to the original offense and we discover the old resentment blazing away as if nothing had been done about it at all. We need to forgive our brother seventy times seven not only for 490 offenses but for one offense.” —C.S. Lewis

“The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness.” —William Blake

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” —Mahatma Gandhi

“Forgiveness is love’s toughest work.” —Lewis Smedes

It is hard work, but the results are so worth it. Don’t let your life be controlled by someone who wronged you in the past. Forgive them and free yourself.

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