DONT TRY TO GET EVEN!
1 Pet 3:8,9
INTRO: I heard this some years ago. I dont get mad. I just get even. I expect that fairly well expresses the sentiments of many, many people. Ill get even with you if its the last thing I ever do. Revenge. An eye for an eye. History is literally filled with the wreckage of vengeance. Perhaps it was revenge which Cain feared. Yes, the human inclination is to retaliate, to get even.
I. FACT: UNJUST THINGS WILL HAPPEN TO US
A. Someone will say something unkind about/to you
B. Someone will cheat you, steal from you
C. Someone will force you off the road
D. And getting even is on our minds
1. we plot; we plan; we look for opportunity
2. we may become irrational - obsessed in our intention of getting even
II. WHAT ARE WE TO DO IN SUCH SITUATIONS?
A. The problems with getting even ...
1. first, it is forbidden by God!
a. Rom 12:19 avenge not yourselves
b. we intrude into the Lords realm with vengeance
2. you cannot always know anothers heart
a. so often offences result from influences in anothers life ... which may have nothing to do with me
b. for me to get even accomplishes nothing good
3. it is certainly not in the spirit of Christ
a. 1 Pet 2:23 if ever one was justified ... but He sought no occasion for evening score
b. meekness is power under control - not weakness
4. it will do injury to our own personality
a. simmering anger, wrath, resentment will damage our personality and inner person
b. and it will harm other relationships
B. What can we do, then ...
1. defer our anger/reaction - Prov 19:11
a. certainly implies decision about response is ours
b. are we conditioned to react harshly?
2. consciously work on controlling self - Prov 16:32b
a. fact: it can be done ... but do we want to do it?
b. I wonder what we think of 2 Cor 5:17? new creature? really? how like worldly people are we?
3. control your thinking - Phil 4:6-8
a. the role of what we think in our pursuit of peace
b. if we constantly replay the injustice mentally, nothing good can result ... at least, some harsh verbal tirade
4. forgive quickly - Eph 4:31,32
a. note how forgiving is a positive way of dealing with our anger, wrath, etc.
b. the words I forgive must be accompanied by the feelings of our hearts
5. make positive overtures of kindness - Rom 12:20,21
a. this both keeps you from becoming bitter and affects the conscience of the offender
b. it may not always be possible; but when it is, it is a wise and good thing to do
6. commit outcomes to the Lord - 1 Pet 2:23c
a. we are probably not too good at this ... take matters into our hands - vigilante action
b. but its the only way to peace, contentment in the face of conflict
CLOSE: I admit the desire to get even when someone hurts us is an almost overwhelming desire. But there is a better way. There is a right way. And it is found in the wisdom of scripture - 1 Pet 3:8,9.
Cecil A. Hutson
17 January 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)