September 9, 2021

Today’s Devotional: “Retaliation”

Several days ago, I saw a very powerful message from the remains of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. It was a Bible that had been fused into a heart-shaped piece of steel found amongst the rubble.

Prominently displayed was a section of Jesus’s sermon on the mount that was entitled, “Retaliation.”

Here is the verse, which you can see in the attached photo.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:38-39 KJV)

I believe the Lord is saying through this biblical artifact how we are to rightly respond when trying times happen, times that test our soul and spirit, if not our resolve.

When those who hurt us, and we suffer from their abuse, we are not to seek retribution or revenge. Instead, we are to seek their good and resist doing evil in return.

This is at the heart of God and the teaching of the Bible.

When James and John, whom Jesus called, “sons of thunder,” saw the disrespect and spite hurled at Jesus by the Samaritans, they asked Jesus to rain down the fire of God upon them. But Jesus responded, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” (Luke 9:55-56)

The Apostle Paul was telling the church in Rome to bless those who persecuted them, and then said, “Repay no one evil for evil … Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord … Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14-21)

But the ultimate example of our need not to retaliate was given by Jesus upon the cross. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Now, I know that this is hard to hear, because we want retribution, not reconciliation, vengeance taken, not mercy extended. But the heart of God is that He wants none to perish in their sins and remain forever separated from Him in hell, but to have everyone come into everlasting life in heaven.

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