Don’t Get Even, Get Mad

Have you ever taken a close look at the word revenge? Probably not. I didn’t until today. Let me show you what lies hidden in the word: revenge. Revenge is all about getting even. Some people take revenge in overt ways; others choose the passive aggressive route. Nevertheless, it’s still revenge.

But what if I told you that you’re better off getting mad than getting even, what would you say?

Please join us in today’s daily Bible conversation.

TODAY’S READING

Nehemiah 12:27-13:31
1 Corinthians 11:1-16
Psalm 35:1-16
Proverbs 21:17-18

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Nehemiah 12:27-13:31. Here are a few thoughts that struck me while reading:

  1. By restoring the role of the choirs in daily worship, Nehemiah was trying to lead Judah back to the worship practices that had died out in the days of David and Solomon 500 years before.
  2. We read that Nehemiah returned to Persia, probably in order to return to his important duties as cupbearer to the king. Think about it: Nehemiah was one of Jerusalem’s greatest leaders, but he never made it his home. From afar, he realized the importance of this great city.
  3. After Nehemiah left Jerusalem, it again began to disintegrate. Such is the nature of society and the human heart. We need strong leaders who will prevent the gravitational pull of spiritual disintegration.

1 Corinthians 11:1-16. This is one of those passages that gives pastors a great deal of heartburn. While it may seem that Paul is disregarding the role of women in worship, the Bible Background Commentary explains:

Women did not lead prayers in most synagogues, and Jewish tradition tended to play down Old Testament prophetesses; Paul’s churches allow considerably more freedom for women’s ministry.

Some religious traditions look to this passage as a reason to insist that women wear a head covering in worship. Theories about the interpretation of this passage abound.

Psalm 35:1-16. In this psalm, David writes about an unknown enemy. To my knowledge, David never names his enemies in his psalms. He may come across as vengeful (“may ruin overtake them by surprise” verse 8), but David knows he is safe to share his true feelings with God, even his anger.

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

A characteristic of David that continues to surface as we read through the Bible is his trust in God. This great warrior knew how to rely on God to fight his battles.

In Psalm 35, he cries out to God regarding the injustices he was experiencing. Men were intent on killing him. People he had helped at an earlier time turned their backs on him. David had every reason to get even, but instead he brought his anger to God.

In the midst of his rage, he says, “Who is like you, O Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.”

God is our rescuer! Sometimes, the greatest act of faith we can take is to do nothing to defend ourselves and let God take control.

Twice, David had the opportunity to kill King Saul who was hotly pursuing him. Yet he refused because he believed God would deal with his evil pursuer.

“Conventional” wisdom says “don’t get mad, get even.” David, however, chose something much better: “don’t get even, get mad.” Rather than vent his frustrations on the people around him, David chose to vent his feelings toward God.

He can handle it.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. Do you tend to get even rather than get mad or do you tend to get mad rather than get even (according to the definition in this post)? Why?

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www.bibleconversation.com

Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

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