19th April 2017

Offenses Will Come 

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone…but love your neighbour as yourself.”
Leviticus 19:18 (NIV UK)

Recently, someone told me a story about a couple who were annoyed by the neighbour’s dog barking incessantly at night. Finally, the man got fed up and saying, ‘I’ve had enough of this!’ went storming round to the neighbour’s house. When he returned, the dog was still barking. His wife asked, ‘What happened?’ To which he replied, ‘I put the dog in our garden—we’ll see how they like the incessant barking!’

We have an expression ‘Cutting off our nose to spite our face,’ but this doesn’t quite cover this story. Revenge is always counterproductive. We cannot hurt someone else without hurting ourselves whether physically, psychologically, mentally or emotionally. It’s like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. It’s like putting the barking dog in our own garden so the people next door can see how annoying it is to have the neighbour’s dog barking incessantly!

What then, can we do about it when others annoy us or cause us harm? One principle is to go to them alone—don’t complain about them to others, or confront them in public. Matthew 18:15-17 tell us, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

Another principle is to go to our neighbour in a spirit of love and humility. In humility, because we are not perfect and may well have a problem as bad or worse than theirs. Matthew 7:2-5 says, “in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged…first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

If you can do nothing to resolve the issue, remember that forgiveness is difficult but necessary for good health. Remember Jesus’ words in Luke 17:3-4, “So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them!” Jesus, himself, was murdered by evil men and yet on the cross he said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Help us to refrain from revenge and the bitterness that harbouring ill towards our neighbour can cause. Help us, Father in heaven, to deal with trespasses in a spirit of love, humility and forgiveness, as Jesus set us the example.

Study by Nancy Silcox


About the Author:
Nancy Silcox attends the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK. Nancy prepares and uploads the Day by Day studies submitted by members of the Worldwide Church of God UK/Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Herts. WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george-sue.henderson@tesco.net

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