Every Thursday I'll be posting a discussion question, challenge or thought from one of the Christian books that I've read. Then I'll post my personal response.
Then its your turn: consider the question and, if you feel moved to do so, post a comment or a link to the answer in your own blog. You don't have to participate every week, just when you want to.
Today's question comes from 'Secret Believers' by Brother Andrew and Al Janessen.
Are we going to seek revenge when we're attacked?
Should we not offer forgiveness instead?
My automatic reaction is to say: 'yes, of course'. From an early age we are taught not to hit back, that two wrongs don't make a right and to accept an apology when it is offered. But is it really that easy? Of course it isn't! How many of us, when offered an apology, automatically say 'it's OK, I forgive you' or 'apology accepted' when inside we still bear a grudge? I suspect, if we're honest, most of us do.
I like to think that when someone wrongs me I do not try to take revenge. However the want to is usually still there. Its human nature to want to strike back- that's what made it important for Jesus to say that we shouldn't! Our society today is based upon revenge. When people are sent to prison we say that its to keep others safe or so deter others from committing similar crimes, but it seems to me that sentences are not merely based on this- otherwise the length of prison term would depend less on the crime committed and more on whether the prisoner was likely to repeat offend (yes, I do realise that people get prison terms shortened for good behaviour and likelihood not to re-offend, but this seems to be more of a secondary concern). No, the truth is that the general public want to see criminals 'getting what they deserve', i.e. being punished for their crimes. It is much easier to seek revenge than too forgive!
So how can we resist revenge and instead forgive? I wish I'd found the answer, but I haven't yet. All I can do is to recognise the feeling inside me and ask God to take it away and replace it with forgiveness. And hope that maybe, someday, this will become a habit in itself.