One thing that’s been on my radar lately is the subject of retaliation.. I am hoping that this post will bless someone with what I feel God is saying.
Merrian-Webster defines retaliation as:
:to repay in kind
- retaliate an injury
Many of us think of revenge (retaliation) as a repayment for perceived wrong like in The Wizard of Oz, “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!” That is the obvious kind of retaliation. As believers (or just decent human beings in general) we should have been raised with the moral fiber that this is not good or mature behavior. The book of Proverbs says it loud and clear:
But what about the more subtle forms of retaliation that we don’t immediately recognize (especially in ourselves)? In inner healing we share a chart which shows the slow progression of hurt and anger that can evolve into retaliation if we don’t forgive. I have added a picture below so you can see how retaliation begins.
Ephesians 4:25-27Amplified Bible (AMP)
25 Therefore, rejecting all falsehood [whether lying, defrauding, telling half-truths, spreading rumors, any such as these], speak truth each one with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one another [and we are all parts of the body of Christ]. 26 Be angry[at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down. 27 And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness].
Another form of retaliation is saying that you forgive an individual or someone’s family or ministry, yet you still continue to bring up and spread the offense. This form of retaliation is interesting because the person is saying they choose to forgive, yet they still feel compelled to shout from the mountaintops what someone did to them. You truly haven’t forgiven if you are still talking about it.
I do want to stop here and say that not all issues and hurts need to be addressed directly with the person. There are some times when God allows us to just work it out between you and Him. If you can do that and not feel anger or hurt in a situation, that’s wonderful. Especially if the other person already knows your heart on the matter and this is a repeat offense.
As you can see by the chart, if you don’t take care of this at the retaliation level, it’s all getting worse from here. If you see this chart and say “I would never murder someone”, carefully consider that when we are angry, we can murder people with our mouths. Have you ever gotten so angry with someone that you hit them? That violence is the last step before murder. This means a huge root of bitterness has gotten a foothold.
If you thought about other peoples’ sins toward you as you were reading this blog, allow me to step on your toes a bit. Please go back and re-read the entire post only seeing your own sin and ask God to help you to forgive and release these people that you have retaliated against in the past or present. Consider Paul’s words in Ephesians 4 in the message version of the bible:
25 What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.
26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
28 Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work.
29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
30 Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.
31-32 Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
For the Kingdom,