Of all the sins to which we fall, none makes us feel so smug as vengeance. When we’re the injured ones, the hurting ones—acknowledged victims of some sin—we live a perilously long moment of unexpected power. The voices of our culture ring too loudly in our ears: “Retaliate. Require groveling. Make certain that they’ll never hurt you—or anyone—like that again.” And sometimes in our weakness, we savor the imagination of how much pain we could inflict—all righteously, of course. We picture those who hurt us getting stings that we’ve endured. It’s grimly satisfying on some scale of “eye-for-eye.” But then the gospel pierces through our fog of pain, and we hear again the words that once changed everything for us: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). “In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Cor 5:19).” Only people who have been forgiven every truly forgive. The memory of our undeserved redemption pushes through our injury, and we recall how we were once where our abusers are. The grace we give is built on memory of how we’ve been released, and how our hearts have been renewed. So we lay down the lance; give up the sword. We offer others peace and healing Jesus is still giving us. This is His way. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
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