Tag Archives: getting even

Genesis 4 – The Mark Of Cain

You probably already know Cain killed his brother Able out of jealousy. You might know God gave Cain a personal invitation to repent. Cain didn’t repent.

God cursed Cain and told him he was going to have a difficult life ahead of him. Cain’s response?

“Ok. I get it. I’m being driven out from Your Presence, God. I’ll be a restless wanderer for the rest of my life. But, God, people are going to be mean to me. That’s just not fair.” (Not an exact quote 😉 )

Oh, Cain. Couldn’t you find it in your heart to admit you sinned, and ask God to forgive you? You’re so worried about what other people think about you, or how they will treat you. What about what God thinks?

So God put a mark on Cain, identifying him as the killer of Able. But that mark wasn’t a bullseye. In fact, it was the opposite. It was a mark that said, “Leave him alone.” No one would avenge Able’s death by killing Cain with that mark staring them in the face.

Even then Cain didn’t humble himself before God. He went on his merry way, started a family, and built a city.

Now THAT’S not fair, you might think.

I believe the lesson here is: that’s none of your business. How God deals with others is not up to you. Wanting revenge, wishing a building would fall on a person, is a sin that will drive you out of God’s Presence, too.

If you are harboring ill-feelings toward someone who has done you wrong, picture the mark of Cain on their forehead. Leave them alone. Let God handle things the way He sees best. It might not happen the way you think it should. What goes around doesn’t always come around in God’s kingdom. (Thankfully) But God knows what He’s doing.

Cain had ample opportunity to repent, to confess his sin and ask God to forgive him. He never did as far as we know. He may have spent the rest of his life restless and guilt ridden, depressed or angry. And if he never repented, his eternity is much worse.

Don’t make the same mistake. The Bible tells us to pray for those who misuse us, to love our enemies. Let God be God. You take care of that plank in your own eye. And trust God to do all things well.

April 4 -Revenge

Judges 13-15

Samson is an interesting character. From the moment he was conceived his mother didn’t drink alcohol. His parents raised him to be set apart for God’s work. Samson acted differently, and looked different from everybody else.

God used Samson in amazing ways. He killed a lion with his bare hands, a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey. Yet he had terrible taste in women, seemed to have no common sense, and made revenge a driving force in his life.

When the men of Judah came to him and asked him why on earth he would burn the Philistine crops, Samson answered like a two year old. “They started it.”

Is revenge a right? When someone wrongs you, are you entitled to payback? Doesn’t the Bible say something about an eye for an eye?

I used to tell kids in my school that revenge is like a game of tennis. Someone serves the ball into your court by being mean to you, so you hit the ball back to them by doing something back at them. Does the game of tennis stop after both players hit the ball just once?

Well, it might when I’m playing. But that’s not the point.

When the ball is hit into the player’s court, he or she does everything possible to hit it back into the opponent’s court. The game stops only when someone quits hitting the ball.

Does getting revenge ever solve the problem? Does it ever even the score? Or does it make the problem grow? Read these chapters in Judges and see how living for revenge worked for Samson.

What does Jesus say? Love your enemies. Do good to those who harm you. Paul tells us to overcome evil with good.

I wonder how Samson’s story would have ended if he had learned that lesson.

I wonder how your story will end.

Feb 5 – An Eye For An Eye

Exodus 19-21

In the chapters we read today, and will read in the days to come, God is spelling out his demands for holy living. There is absolutely a right and a wrong and it’s right here in front of us in black and white. Those who think “right” is an arbitrary set of rules decided by individuals to suit their own needs is wrong, wrong, wrong.

I’ve often heard, “an eye for an eye” and it’s first said here in Exodus. It is included in the verses that talk about how to handle it when a pregnant woman gets injured when two men are fighting. But the principal applies to life. Jesus even talked about it.

But when Jesus talked about it in Matthew 5, he turned things around a bit. He says if someone slaps you, don’t slap back. Turn the other cheek. He’s using these passages in Exodus to make a point. Sin isn’t just sin when acted out. Sin is a heart condition.

For years, when I was a Middle School Guidance Counselor and did “guidance” activities with sixth graders, I showed the movie “The Buttercream Gang.” There’s a line in there that came to mind this morning as I thought about what God would say to me in His word. Here’s the line:

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, Pete.

Seriously, getting even never makes things even. Tailgating the driver who cut you off doesn’t even the score, except to make you both look ridiculous. Hurting someone who hurts you only makes both of you guilty.

I’ve found that I am happier, life is better, if I let God be judge and jury. He’s much better than I. And in the end, he’s gonna judge me, too.

Holy God, I pray that as we read your rules for living we will bow to You in complete obedience. I thank you that I live this side of the cross, where I know following rules cannot buy my salvation. And I want to remember that Jesus took these rules one step further, that my heart’s condition is so important. But You gave these rules to us to make our lives richer, our relationship with you purer. I want to be obedient, repentant when I sin, and love you with my whole self. Make me holy through Jesus’ blood. Thank you for wanting to.