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No one likes getting hurt, particularly when the harm is done intentionally. And our natural reaction is to give people a taste of their own medicine. But Christ calls us to take the higher road – responding in love and not vengeance.

To be fair, treating others the way they treat us is not necessarily unreasonable. And our desire for this is not always from a heart of malice. In fact, we might think of it as a teachable moment – hoping they will change their approach once they experience things on the receiving end. There are times to fight fire with fire. But the point here is not merely to get even. Rather it’s an opportunity to allow the other to grow.

All the same, more often than not, we’re likely reacting in our pain when we want them to hurt the same way we do. And love calls us to take the higher road in these moments. 

For instance, we might choose to show respect after we’ve been disrespected, offer a gift or kind gesture even after we’ve been overlooked, or seek to genuinely understand even when others have not extended this grace to us. Whatever it looks like, we’re responding with mercy and grace – not giving them what they deserve, while also giving them what they don’t deserve

Often this is enough to start warming the heart of the other. But this is not our chief motivation. We love because God first loved us. And our actions are in response to his love, without a demand or expectation from the other. 

As such, it’s God’s heart we’re trying to follow even when others expect us to play the same tit for tat games they do. 

In the end, don’t settle for merely reacting in kind to others. Take the higher road – demonstrating love even when it’s not fair. 

Photo by Aejaz Memon on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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