Leviticus 19:18 (CEB)
18You must not take revenge nor hold a grudge against any of your people; instead, you must love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.
Matthew 5:38-39, 43-45 (CEB)
38“You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.39But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well.
43“You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you 45so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.
Probably the hardest part of “loving our neighbor” is resisting the urge to strike back when somebody does something hurtful to us. If somebody calls us a name, it’s hard to not go there. If somebody makes fun of us, it’s hard to not respond the same way. And, if somebody were to give us a shove…well…
It’s an instantaneous reaction—a reflex. If somebody’s being a bonehead to us, we really want to respond in the only way that person is going to understand—by being a bonehead back. And we can’t just be a regular bonehead. No. We have to one-up the person by being a superior bonehead.
You may not be surprised to hear that Jesus didn’t call us to be superior boneheads. Jesus called us to be peacemakers.
How do you stop a conflict? You refuse to continue it.
If today’s devotion spoke to you in a particular way and you feel led to share your thoughts with others, please do so.