The Best Example
Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2: 18-24 (NRSV)
Recently Heidi Kling-Newman, from Pennsylvania, left a job in which she was treated unfairly by the management. Prior to her leaving, she received information that could cause strife for the leaders of the organization. Heidi struggled with her desire to use this information to repay them for the wrong they had done to her. During this time, Heidi read about the death of Jesus and his response to those who put him on the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). This made Heidi ask herself, If Jesus could forgive and have understanding toward those who persecuted him, how much more should I extend the same response to those who treated my unfairly? Once Heidi looked at her situation from that perspective, her desire for revenge disappeared. Her situation seemed trivial when compared to that of Jesus, and yet Jesus had responded with compassion and understanding for his enemies.
Following Jesus' example, Heidi made up her mind to forgive , and she began to feel peace about her situation. She no longer felt weighed down by the desire for revenge. This lesson taught her to view her own experiences through the eyes of our Savior and to seek his example for how to respond.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, when we are tempted to seek revenge, help us to see the world through your eyes and to follow your Son's example, in Jesus' name, amen.