Monday, July 2, 2007

Cleaning the Dishes

It has been said that "revenge is a dish best served cold." But the truth is that there are ways we can make a point without hatred. Revenge is a by-product of stored up wrath. The Christian is told not let wrath have its place.
I read a story of two brothers who started buying each other gifts. It all started with an insulting birthday card. The brother who received the card sent 50 back. In response came the birthday gift, a pet rock - only the rock weighed 4,000 pounds. So the other brother sent back 10 tons of pebbles claiming that his rock had babies. One by one the gifts got worse. They included a live elephant, a bus-load of choir boys, and the most recent deposit - two tons of manure piled eight feet high on the front lawn. I guess, as one commentator put it, "It's not just the thought that counts."
Once when Abraham Lincoln was still practicing law, a potential client came to him, desiring to sue an impoverished debtor for $2.50. Lincoln didn't want to take the case, but he knew the man would go elsewhere and sue anyway. So he required a $10 fee for his services. Before the trial, Lincoln gave half of the money to the defendant. All parties benefited, and the plaintiff was satisfied!
Jesus said during the Sermon on the Mount not to resist evil people (Matt. 6:39). He challenged mankind to go the second mile (Matt. 6:41). Our imperfect emotions often put us in a very dangerous place. Even when we have not done wrong, we will allow the works of others to put us in a hole. Then bound up anger works like a shovel, and the hole becomes a pit with no escape. But if we allow time for erosion, the hole will fill up enough for us to eventually climb out.
Only God has the right to be avenged. He gave us everything and we rejected Him. We put His Son upon a cross. Even now, His grace and mercy shine down upon us, offering fellowship with His abiding glory and the hope of an eternal home. "For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord, and 'The Lord will judge His people'" (Heb. 10:30).
God does not want to exercise His wrath. But when He does, let it be noted that He does it in justice.
There are ways to set wrath aside and still respond to evil. We'd better be careful about the dish best served cold. Because Jesus is coming and you can be sure He'll come cleaning the dishes.


  1. Great article (as always). In our society, we need more study on how to handle our anger.

  2. I agree with the previous comment. Do you have specific ideas as to how to control our anger when provoked. I have personally been working on not reacting when people are unkind. Jesus was able to respond in a loving manner. I am still working on my toolbox to achieve this. Do you have any suggestions?

  3. I would try reading Eph. 4:25-32. Also 1 Pet. 2:21-25. These are great passages to guide you when you are tempted to strike back at people who choose to be unkind. The other tip is your own personal experience as to how a bad reaction turns out. It never satisifies, and you just end up disappointed with yourself.

  4. Luke 6:37 states: Do not judege, andy you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

    This verse states it clearly to me that forgiveness is a necessity for a christian.