When the Retaliation is Greater Than the Offense
In this piece, I am not talking about wars of nations or the protection of individual lives from perils of injury or death; I am talking about conflicts that can arise between individuals and/or groups of individuals.
Sadly, I believe that our nation, many of our families, and even some of our churches are suffering from a condition where those who choose to sit in judgment justify and often support the “greater” acts of negative reciprocation more than the original crime of offense(s).
In other words, someone may truly offend another person, but when the offended person or group of persons retaliate at such a level of degree that their retaliation far outweighs the original offense, which party is then at greater fault?
We all know people who can be offended and able to recall the very date and hour of the offense, no matter how small or great, thirty years now the road. They will make comments such as, “Well, I don’t like that person because back in elementary school they stole my eraser and never gave it back or said they were sorry.” Now mind you the person making the statement is now seventy years old!! But, that is exactly how some people wish to live out their lives.
Other people who become offended may seek to bring a “crowd” of people to their rescue or defense causing a small matter to suddenly erupt into a larger one. We all need to monitor our own emotions when we become offended and upset at another human being. Truly, we may have been terribly wronged and injustice was served, but to gather a “crowd” in order to “draw a line-in-the-sand” can become quite harmful; especially to those who do not know both sides of the story. And, one sure element of maturity is to know from the get-go that there are always two sides to any story..And, both sides “perceived truth” to them is truth. This is why it takes “skilled” investigators often great lengths in time to truly find the bottom line of truth in any matter…And, it takes lots of dedicated “prayers” by mature Christians to seek out truth and God’s guidance in most matters regardless if it involves home, work, play, or church.
Today, many people want to accept the “perception of the truth” almost immediately without hearing out both sides. Conflicts, differences of opinions, and major differences between personal ethics and personal mannerisms are not easy to differentiate who’s right from who’s wrong when opposed. Both motives and hidden attitudes must be considered as well as who has the most to lose…But, just deciding that the person who has the most to lose is the one in the wrong is not always the case. Take the incident in the Bible where two women claimed the same baby.
One of two ladies tiny baby died during the night. So the lady whose baby had died got up quietly during the night and “swapped” her dead baby for the other lady’s living baby. The next morning the mother of the living baby immediately recognized that the dead baby lying next to her was not her baby. She looked around and saw her living baby in the arms of the other mother. Naturally, a fight erupted between the two mothers. The two mothers were brought before King Solomon to rule his judgment as to whom the living baby belonged. In his very blessed heart of wisdom Solomon ordered the living baby to be cut into half. Immediately, the real mother screamed out not to cut the baby into half but rather give the whole baby to the other mother…That my friend is a “mother’s love.” King Solomon immediately ordered the baby to be returned to the rightful mother. Sometimes, to avoid further harm and hurt in a matter the person who loves and cares the most will sacrifice their own heart for the sake of the bigger picture! So, the one who has the most to lose may very well back off and become the greater victim. Only God knows the real heart of man. (See I King 3:16-28 for Solomon’s story of the two mothers.)
In today’s modern society patience is not highly valued nor appreciated. A person who wishes to “wait” on a matter and allow God to bring all things to light is looked upon as being weak and not “pro-active” as the secular worlds refers. But, in GOD’s spiritual world patience is still a virtue, Fruit of the Spirit, and very much a valued trait; especially among leaders.
Some time ago, I heard of a group of people who decided to take matters into their own hands regarding an ongoing issue. At the most inappropriate time and place, they brought undue and negative attention to an already complex matter. Let me go on record as saying “nothing” good comes from abruptness of behavior in the wrong place at the wrong time; especially when there is an audience involved. A good rule of thumb to follow is that Satan always loves an unsuspecting audience who does not have all the details or facts. Satan thrives on creating confusion, perception, and division. Oh, my friend, it is so sad to see people bound to their emotional ties so much so that they willfully follow the works of darkness by believing that their harmful outward actions will bring things to light. Think about it…how can confusion bring anything to the True LIGHT?! Jesus does not work in such chaos. His voice brings stillness of heart. A good thing to remember and rule to follow.
It appears to me that our nation, government, organizations, families, and many of our churches are suffering from a lack of godly “wisdom.” We stand in need of modern-day Solomon’s to decipher right from wrong. We need men and women filled with the Holy Spirit to mediate and moderate for the overall good of everyone, all stakeholders; not just a select few or group.
When involved in matters of conflict, we need to be careful and mindful to channel our emotions and perceptions for the greater Truth and Honesty. It’s easy to get caught up in matters and situations that touch our lives and hearts. It takes great courage, patience, understanding, faith, hope, and LOVE to endure some of the challenges placed before us…But, like Solomon we can do it; when we seek the wisdom of God and know the tactics of Satan! As the Bible teaches, “No house can stand or survive when it is divided against itself…” (Matthew 12: 22-28). Jesus comes to heal and to bind. Satan comes to destroy and divide. We must learn and be familiar with God’s ways from those of Satan’s.
Today, let me just say that if you are a part of a movement where the reciprocation or retaliation of a matter is bringing forth greater harm than the offense (or, crime), take heed and warning you are NOT moving in the right direction. Repent. Ask for God’s forgiveness. Seek restitution with those whom you have personally offended and ask God for HIS wisdom to bring ALL things to the real LIGHT in the same matter as JESUS himself would do. No one has ever been more offended and personally attacked than Jesus Christ himself. Yet; from the Cross He cried, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus always seeks to restore, revive, and return peace and positive outcome from negative.
Working through issues, differences of opinions, and offenses is not ever easy. There will always be a degree of pain involved; sometimes both mentally and emotionally for all parties involved…But, there is always a right way and a wrong way to go about resolving matters of conflict and personal ideologies.
In closing, I urge you to not let your retaliation or reactions become greater than the crime or offense(s) bestowed upon you or someone you love. As the Bible teaches, “Take heed lest ye fall.” (I Corinthians 10:12)…In time, and through much prayer, allow the Spirit of God to bring ALL things to HIS LIGHT. Only then will both the offenses and reactions be resolved and justified in the eyes of God. To God be the Glory. Amen.
Remember, God Loves You!
Lin T Rollins, M.Ed Author