Something sounds a little off about the title of this post, doesn’t it? Yet, this idea resonates with our modern culture. Somebody is going to do something negative to you, so make sure you do it to them first. In other words don’t let someone else get the upper hand.
Thankfully, God’s ways are not our ways! Here is what the Bible commands instead:
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12
Jesus makes this stunning declaration at the end of his Sermon on the Mount. These words challenge you and me to the limits of what it means to have faith in God. When someone wrongs you, your natural reaction is to get mad or get even. But God has something different in mind. When you are treated wrongly focus on what would have been the good thing to do and then do it others.
What an amazing offensive game plan. Jesus is saying stop worrying and stop wasting precious time and energy about how unfairly others treat you. Instead, spend your energy on showing God’s love to others. If you wish to be treated with compassion and a forgiving spirit, aggressively pursue this course with those close to you regardless of how they treat you. This is mind blowing.
Jesus says this aggressive acton is what the law and the prophets are all about. This means you can respond in love and mercy to a teenager who has been disrespectful to you. It means you can be gracious and kind to a spouse that has been thick-headed and insensitive. It means you can teach your young children to help their siblings have a good time even when these same siblings have been selfish with their toys.
Don’t focus on getting even or being hurt or on pay back. Instead be truly radical. Show God’s tenderness to those who don’t deserve it.
Because this is what God does to you every moment of everyday. He loves you when you are unlovely. Think about it.