Do not say, ‘I will do to others as they have done to me; I will pay them back for what they have done.’
Proverbs 24:29 (NRSV)
If you are like me for a fleeting moment you may indulge yourself every now and then in a wicked pleasure, that is, dreaming of doing to others what they have done to you. You want them to feel as bad or as hurt as you do. You want them to know the pain or sadness you are experiencing. If you are like me, you have smacked your lips at the idea of paying back to someone what he or she did that hurt you deeply.
Then blessedly, those bad or negative feelings are put in their place! If you are like me, you remember what you were taught from your childhood days at home or in Sunday school. The words of The Golden Rule reverberate in your mind: “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12 (NRSV) You are reminded that this is What Jesus Would Do. Better yet, we are reminded that this is what Jesus would have us do. It is hard to do, but you feel so much better living that way!
Lord, help us not to dwell on the wicked pleasure that inevitably comes when we have been hurt. Dispel those malicious thoughts and cast them into the outermost depths of our minds. Restrain us when we would mistreat others as they have mistreated us. Remind us that Jesus has called us to a higher and better way of life, namely, “In everything, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.