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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

June 26, 2015

How do we respond when we are wronged?

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

I once read about an employee in a butcher shop who was caught stealing some of his employer's meat products.

When he was questioned about his actions, his response that he felt he was not paid enough for his work, so he compensated for the low pay by taking some meat.

Some people who cheat on their taxes justify their actions with the viewpoint that the government takes too much money from people, so they reduce their tax liability accordingly.

The thinking behind such actions is that one wrong justifies another wrong.

Several chapters of 1 Samuel describe David fleeing from Israel's king Saul. On one occasion, David and one of his men came into Saul's camp at night. There they found Saul sound asleep and unguarded. Abishai, who had accompanied David to the camp, wanted to kill Saul on the spot, because he thought that God had delivered Saul into David's hand.

If David had been of the same mentality as the meat thief and some tax dodgers, he would have agreed with Abishai and given him permission to kill Saul. After all, David had already spared Saul's life once, and Saul had wept over David's mercy and promised to stop pursuing him (see 1 Samuel 24).

But Saul did not keep his word, and he started pursuing David again. So David could have said: "Saul broke his word despite my kindness toward him. God surely wants me to kill him now!"

Instead, David rejected Abishai's proposal, because he was convinced that it would not be right for him to kill the king of Israel: "Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless?" (1 Samuel 24:9).

Those who are wronged often want to justify their own wrong response. But one wrong does not make another wrong right. Instead, let's follow David's example, who acted in a Christian manner in the pre-Christian era: "love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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