Kimberly Lawrence  

Today's Scripture: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23, ESV  

Theme: Loving like Jesus means refusing to retaliate and trusting God to judge.  


The law of retaliation. Sweet justice. What a sense of joy my earthly mind feels when someone who wronged me finally “gets what she deserves.” Hurt my kids and I won’t just wish you unwell; I will come for you! Sound familiar? As a silly example, I have literally rolled down my car window on the interstate and cheered when a driver who had just been tailgating cars and who cut me off in traffic was pulled over by a police officer. Why was I letting that motorist ruin my morning? And why did his traffic ticket make me feel so vindicated?  

Defending ourselves and those we love is a natural reaction to both emotional and physical pain. We may first try to identify the source of the pain in an effort to stop it, but our focus then shifts, sometimes quickly, to imagining retribution in a similar measure. We wrongfully assume we can alleviate our own suffering if the offender feels a reciprocal amount of discomfort.  


If you’re looking for justification to “settle up” with the offenders in your life, look no further than Exodus, Chapters 21 and 22. But wait! Before you start doling out self-justified restitution and punishment, you must also study Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It’s an upgrade to the Old Covenant Law! Jesus specifically calls His followers to be better. He wants us to “turn the other cheek,”,offer a cloak to someone who takes our tunic, and freely give to those in need. Matthew 5:44b (NIV) sums it up succinctly: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Why? Because God is love and we, therefore, must show love in all circumstances.  

Jesus’ example takes it one step further. We must also trust. Trust that God’s plan is perfect. Through His suffering on earth, which is far more than I can sometimes comprehend, Jesus entrusted Himself to a God who judges justly. He did not repay pain in equal measure to those who hurt Him. Thankfully, He also does not seek “repayment” from those who have offended Him, for if He had, I shudder to consider the price I would have to paid.  

Make It Personal: There is no doubt that we have and will be hurt or offended in this life. Let’s trust God’s plan over our own. Our evaluations and justifications for punishment may be flawed and self-serving. But He—whom we have trusted with our lives—is not only perfect but is fair and just. Let’s seek our vindication not in retaliation or personal satisfaction, but in self-control and faith.  

Pray: Father, help me overcome my selfish desire for “justice” in this life. I trust You completely and know that You are a fair and impartial God. Please give my heart and mind peace where I need to forgive others. Allow Your work in me to be a testament of faith in leading others toward You. Amen.  

Read: Matthew 5:3-12 

Weekly Memory Verse: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44-45a, NIV