I don’t get mad, I get even! I know some folks who live that way, are we one of them? We want the right to get back at those who we think harmed us. We want to see them get what we think they deserve. There are times when we want to be the one inflicting justice. What do you think Christ would say about that? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Getting even, claiming our rights, making sure we are treated fairly are all things each one of us feel we have the right to do. Our country was built on the premise that we each have certain unalienable rights. When we feel we are mistreated or taken advantage of we want justice.
What is justice? In a nutshell it means that the right thing is done. It means the punishment fits the crime. We do not want anyone to get away with anything. Even in the simplest circumstance we want to exact justice. Think about someone cutting the line, it takes tremendous restraint not to say something. We talk to ourselves, mumble under our breath, even wonder out loud, was what that person did right?
I remember once being told at the DMV to go out to my car and get the information and then just come back in and go to the front of the line. I wasn’t sure I would make it out of there after cutting in front of all those people, but I did what they told me and apologized to everyone who didn’t know that I had already stood in the line.
Sometimes we want to enact justice without knowing the whole story. That leads us to what we need to work on; grace. Before we go off thinking we know the deal, it might be better to respond with grace until the whole story is revealed.
Back in the day many of the bodies on the cars were metal and a baseball bat was a useful tool for pounding out damage. It also had other uses. I watched as a team member grabbed the baseball bat from the pit cart and decided to go over to the team he thought treated them unfairly on the track. He was going to get justice and nothing was standing in his way. Imagine his dismay when he was met with an apology and explanation followed by an offer to fix the damage.
Funny thing about justice is we want it for others but for us we prefer forgiveness. There was a meeting we had between a veteran and a young driver. The young driver was brash and bold. He drove his racecar without regard for the other competitors. This veteran was on the receiving end of one of these acts of defiance. It could have cost him his life.
By all accounts the veteran could have done many things to that young driver and be totally justified. Instead, there was a tone of forgiveness in his voice. He talked calmly to the young man. He explained how in his early days he drove the same way. When someone drove him hard, he would respond harder. He didn’t care who it was. He shared how one day he intentionally crashed someone and they got hurt. He shared how difficult it was to go and tell the family what he had done. From that day on he lived and raced with a different agenda.
He said to the young driver that in his younger days he would have done the same thing but now, knowing what he knows, he responds differently. He told the young man he was forgiven and encouraged him to change the way he drove because he didn’t want him to have to go through what he did.
Sometimes we want revenge when we should show compassion. Listen to what Christ has to say about it;
Matthew 5:38-42; “You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Turn the other cheek, this is where it originated. Jesus gave us that instruction when we are faced with the prospect of getting even. This is a very difficult instruction for us to deal with because it puts the control out of our hands. We want to decide what judgment is exercised against those who mistreat us.
If you have been following these past few weeks you will notice a consistent theme, let go and let God. You see Jesus wants us to realize that we need to turn it over to God. He wants to release us of the burden of trying to control things. Some of us are control freaks and we need to be in control of everything. Jesus wants us to relinquish control to him and live free of that burden.
If you don’t think it is a burden, try releasing it. Let the day come to you. Don’t try to control things, just let them happen. Let the other guy go first. Let someone cut in front of you. If you begin to get uncomfortable then you are a control freak. It is a burden.
Don’t repay evil with evil, turn the other cheek. Do the unexpected, don’t get even. Try it out this week and see if things don’t turn out different. They will and you will be released from the burden of control. As we practice this our desire to control things diminishes and we learn how to be gracious. Remember, before God we deserve justice but He has chosen to extend to us His grace.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.