Raise the Bar, Part 5 – Relationships

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S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”

When are you most tempted to retaliate? Do you?


“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” Matthew 5:38-42 NLT

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. Romans 12:14-21 NLT

And live peacefully with each other. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. 1 Thessalonians 5:13-15 NLT

Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus was silent and made no reply… Mark 14:60-61 NLT

Sermon Insights: Jesus is asking us to give up our right to retaliation.

Out of a position of strength, we are called to respond to negative with positive. How?

Consider how you might respond kindly to a small slight, perhaps in an uncomfortable conversation.

Consider how you might respond with Jesus’ forgiveness when you are faced with significant unkindness.

How does Jesus’ forgiveness of you (instead of retaliation) pave the way for your forgiveness of others?

If resisting evil incites escalation, how can not resisting evil actually hijack its effects?

Lord, when my heart is full of fear and anxiety, I often respond to the slightest slight with anger, control, RE-vengeance, and putting a wall around my heart. Help me feel significant and be secure in my relationship with you so I can respond in kindness when I am offended.