You did it. You did the thing. You did the thing you knew was wrong. You did the thing you knew was wrong, and yet you did it anyway.
Why? Why’d you do it? Why’d you do it when you knew it was wrong?
Because it made you feel good? Lashing out, getting revenge, making the person who hurt you hurt more than they hurt you.
Yeah, it felt good, didn’t it? The first second the words left your mouth, and the smile left their face, and their mouth gaped open, and you knew you’d stunned them. Cut straight to their soul with an insult, a truth so crushing. Your words dripped with vitriol so full of spite that they wobbled a bit when you said it.
And why shouldn’t you say it? They had it coming. What goes around comes around, so they say.
So they say a lot of things. They say fear is a powerful tool. They say get back at your enemies. They say take what’s owed you, show no mercy, leave no survivors. Eye for an eye. Tooth for tooth. But there’s a lot they don’t say.
And as the second second hit after you said what you said, after the smile of that person – your so-called enemy – faded, after their mouth gaped open, after they seemed to shrink in fear, after your shoulders bared back, fists clenching with the strength of newfound power, tears welled up in their eyes, and they crumpled to the ground and stayed there, shoulders shaking, and then saying what you said didn’t feel so good after all.
They don’t say, “Show mercy.” They don’t say, “Be a peacemaker.” They don’t say, “Admit when you’re wrong.” No, society doesn’t say those things.
But Jesus did. He said, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). His Word says that whoever confesses and forsakes his sins will receive mercy (see Proverbs 28:13).
That same mercy God gives us when we make mistakes is there for everyone.
And so, you unclenched your fists, bent down to the person who had hurt you before, touched their shoulder, and said the words society doesn’t tell you to say:
Forgiveness is there for you as it is and should be for those who hurt you. Never mind what society says. Mind what Jesus has called you to do. He has called you to be set apart from the world, not embrace its ways and lifestyle.
They say, “Take revenge.”
Jesus says, “Show mercy.”
And you should, too.