When You Want to Get Even

Remember the story of Cain and Abel? I’ve always marveled that Cain actually heard the voice of God speak to him, out loud I presume, about his bad attitude. I believe if I heard God say to me, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?” that I would have listened and not killed my brother! It seems so obvious. But then I’ve always underestimated my own sin nature while God knows all too well I might have been just like Cain, ignoring God’s plea to do the right thing. This God is able verse offers another plea, a gift of pure help.

Now, remember Jesus. He knew what it felt like to be truly famished when He fasted for 40 days. His stomach wasn’t just hungry. It was twisted in pain. We give little ones grace when they get angry because they are hungry, and rightly so. As our children get older we train them to control their emotions when they want to throw a fit because dinner isn’t ready. Jesus didn’t give in to the feelings He had when He was literally starving. He trusted God to help and provide for Him.

He also knew what it felt like to be unjustly accused, to feel angry, to want to defend Himself, or hit the arrogant, self-righteous Pharisees who slapped Him in the face. Again, Jesus said no to His desire to take revenge and get even on His own.

Because Jesus was victorious over every single temptation He faced, He has offered to help us every time we face a temptation to sin. He’s there when we want to hurt someone, scream or yell, damage something to show our anger, or become like Cain and commit murder. The results of our sin are never pretty. We are no different than Cain.

-Will you think about Jesus’ offer of help the next time you face a temptation to sin?

-Talk about why it is so hard to resist getting even or making someone pay.

-Talk about the feelings associated with suffering. Like anger. Is anger wrong or a sin? Or is what we do with our anger the problem? Read Cain’s story (Genesis 4:1-8) to help you find the answer to this question.

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8 thoughts on “When You Want to Get Even”

  1. I will speak as a person who has hurt many, usually by accident or by trying to protect my own interests (aka. not intended to harm). If I come to you asking for forgiveness, then I would like to repair the relationship. Asking for forgiveness in itself is difficult and often means that the person wants to put effort into not repeating the offense.

    1. I have a question…is there a difference between saying sorry and asking for forgiveness? I had someone really hurt me…and I have heard sorry, almost as an after thought it I can’t tell if they are because I’m hurt or they feel slighted somehow…

      Never had them say…I am sorry will you forgive me?

      1. Dear Krusten,
        Thanks for writing. You are right there is a difference in saying I’m sorry and asking for forgiveness. The problem for you is you can’t change the other person or force them in any way to truly repent. In marriage it’s important to continue to talk, to communicate about the offense so there is understanding and the hope of the other person recognizing the impact of his/her actions. In a friendship the same can be true if both parties are willing to continue to work on the relationship at a deeper level, but that isn’t often the case. May God guide you to grant forgiveness even if it’s not asked for so are free and don’t become bitter. And I’d recommend reading a good book on the topic of forgiveness to help you process this situation. One I’d suggest is ‘The Freedom Factor’ by Bruce Wilkinson.
        Hope this is helpful.

  2. Christ gave us the Holy Spirit, we must trust in this power and wisdom to free us from anger. Forgiveness is hard, but necessary. We must choose love

  3. Thought provoking, Barbara. Thank you for sharing the wisdom that only comes from living moment by moment in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  4. It is a lot harder than said. Especially when it’s family or a best friend that hurts you.
    I have learned to walk away hurting and just not see that person again. I choose to forgive but that does not mean they are allowed back in my life for good reason.

    1. To just walk away and leave things unsaid and unspoken is why some are in such emotional turmoil. You walk away but you take all the resentment and hurt with you then mistreat the next person for something previous spouse, mate or friend. Is that true forgiveness?

    2. That’s not fair necessarily. The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. To truly forgive is as to do as God does. Never look upon it again.

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