When You’re {Secretly} Wanting Payback

October 17, 2011

in Everyday Words,Personal Disciplines

I stormed out of my mother’s room and was off to get ready.  I can’t remember what I was fighting with her about, but whatever was the matter, I was hot and bothered.  And my mother?  She was calm and collected…not willing to be moved by the storm I was stirring.  I left to iron my shirt for the day and in the fury of my frustration ended up ironing my skin instead. Within seconds, my red hot anger melted into tears and I ran and flung myself back into the arms I’d just refused.

‘Well God took care of you, didn’t He?’

Her words of ‘I told you so,’ should’ve incensed me further, but I was in too much pain to deny the legitimacy of her words.  God had certainly taken care of my attitude and the burn scar is still there to this day to prove it.

Perhaps I should look at that scar more often and remember how God takes care of it all, how He took care of it all on the cross, and how He’ll make it all well when Christ comes again.

I’d never say I’m one to want and eye for an eye, never say I’m seeking revenge. But what else can I call it when I pull away or go cold when someone’s disappointed me?  Am I not looking to make them pay when I pay them back with anything less than love?

When Jesus commands me to not require a tooth from my husband when he takes mine, to offer my left cheek to a neighbor when I feel the sting on my right, to give to rather than take from the one that’s fighting me…He’s only reminding me of how He relates to me.

  • He calls to mind the way I’ve taken from Him-taken glory that was His, praise that should only go to Him, credit that was His alone.
  • He gently whispers reminders of the times I’ve slapped His cheek– a refusal to come to Him, to ask for help, to admit fault and accept His forgiveness.
  • He kindly points out the times I’ve sued Him-wanting gifts more than the Giver, desiring all He possesses rather than longing to be possessed by Him.

And so what?  Is this refusal to get revenge going to turn me into a doormat?  Is that what He was…a weak man unable to stand up and fight for Himself and all He deserved?

Don’t I know my Savior better than this?  He was no doormat, this man calling the dead to rise up, telling Pharisees they were sons of the Devil, cracking a whip in His Father’s house.

And when I entrust these debtors to Him, when I return love for hate and good for evil, I am no doormat….only a door.

A door that opens the way for grace to work, for Jesus to come in, and for all of us to stop taking eyes and instead turn our eyes toward the Cross…the place where all us debtors are humbled to find the One to whom all is due, paying all that debt down.

I search my skin and can barely make out the scar from that day.  But His scars?  They’re always visible, the marks of debtors’ nails that drove right through Him.  Today, I admit that I put the marks there, right there in His hands, and I leave payback there too.

This coming week completes Matthew 5 for memorization.  How are you doing?  I’m getting a bit lost and need to review more this week.  Prayers lifted that He’ll give us more grace to hide all these words deep deep down in our hearts and transform our lives with His power.


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