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Getting Even

Getting Even

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Category: Special Features
What picture do those words conjure up in your mind? Most folks think getting even means, "They can't do that to me and get away with it! After all, the Bible does say, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth!'" I really like the way I heard this Scripture explained in just a few sentences:

Way down upon the Mississippi, two tugboat captains who had been friends for years, would always cry "Aye!" and blow their whistles whenever they passed each other. One day a new crewman asked his boat's mate, "Why do they do that?" The mate looked surprised and replied, "You mean you don't read your bible? Surely you've heard of ... an aye for an aye and a toot for a toot?"

(Everybody groan here). Yes, I know how bad that story was, but I laughed anyway. Hope you can, too.

You see the real problem with wanting to use that "eye for an eye" passage to justify getting even happens to be that this is exactly what Jesus tells us not to do. Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:38-39 says, "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, 'Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.'"

What Jesus is telling us is exactly the opposite of getting even. He's talking about "turning the other cheek" even if we have "the right" to get even. Probably each of us has some understanding of just how difficult this is. Most of us have some experience with trying to turn the other cheek. Turning the other cheek is never easy! For many people "getting even" is what they're interested in and they won't be satisfied until it's done. They don't want someone to escape justice. Unfortunately, they fail to realize that never happens on this side of heaven's judgement.

The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 14:10, "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Very simply, though men may sometimes escape justice and judgment here on earth, someday they will meet the judge, which gives out true justice, there is no escape.

My prayer is that you will have the faith in God to realize that no matter what happens, he holds the universe in his hands. He will bring judgment to all of those who deserve it. He is the only one who can bring about ultimate justice, our job is to turn the other cheek.

About the Author

Russ Lawson
Russ Lawson is a former missionary to Africa and minister in Ohio. He now works with World Christian Literature Outreach and writes a weekly email devotional, Messages from the Heart. For more information about Russ, click here.

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