Samson was a little like a loose cannon, don’t you think? He had gone home to cool down after the wedding fiasco, but it appears he thought he was still married. Imagine his surprise when he found out his wife was no longer his wife. That surprise sparked more destruction of Philistine property. Samson said, “This time I cannot be blamed for everything I am going to do to you Philistines.”
Samson truly believed that he had proper justification to sacrifice those foxes and burn down the grain fields, the vineyards, and olive groves. All over a woman! His pride had been damaged after all. He needed to show who was in control. That did not end well for his wife or her father.
What is your first reaction when someone brings harm to you or someone you know? Is it getting even? What should we think when we read in the Bible where it says “an eye for an eye”? What’s that all about?
Paul is clear here in this verse. We should not repay evil with evil. I remember being picked on as a child. Hurtful words are certainly evil in my book. It was so tempting to lash back with more of the same, but I didn’t have the courage. Looking back, it seems my fear actually kept me from sinning in return.
Have you ever been wronged by someone? I think all of us
have at some point in life. It never feels good to be hurt by a friend or even
a stranger. What happens next will define us. Do we rush to get even? Or, do we
only dream of sweet revenge? How do you react when you are the target of slander
For me, I always want to set the record straight. I’m so afraid of what people think of me. Yet Solomon’s wise counsel is this, “Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.” Are you kidding me? How can I do that? We might think we look weak if we don’t fight back. But on the contrary, we are much stronger when we are able to bite our tongue and just take the lashing, trust that God has our backs.
Revenge is a scary thing. Jesus is helping us to be better in our relationships, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the other person will do likewise. We are often hurt by what others say and do or how they treat us. What do we do with those crushed feelings? How do we reconcile with someone who doesn’t even know they hurt us.
We hear in today’s reading that taking the “high road” is the way to go. We need to be the “bigger” person and do the right thing. The example we see here is when someone slaps us on the right cheek, we’re supposed to offer the left, too. As if the first pain wasn’t enough, we need to welcome more. Jesus told us this to support his charge to us to not resist an evil person.