12 Jun Retaliation
Ever so gently and as kindly as possible I whispered to the elderly lady cashier, who had given me five dollars too much in change, and I returned the five to her. I knew it would have come out of her pay if her cash drawer was short at the end of the day. However, before you smile and think, “I knew he was honest” allow me to say if it had been the very rude seventeen-year-old who had upset the elderly lady, I’m not so sure I would have returned it. I would have figured she deserved to be stuck for five dollars or even more.
This brings me to the issue of our allowing other people to determine our behavior. Should I have allowed a rude teen the power to make me dishonest? This really starts when we are very little. How often as parents have we heard, “He hit me first.” Somehow that was a justification for hitting back and, of course, when we hit back, it was always a tad harder.
Not only is it difficult to teach children to turn the other cheek, it is difficult to do so as adults. In Kindergarten we should offer Tongue Biting 101. “A soft answer turns away wrath.” Thank you Solomon. And our Jesus has something to say about this in the Sermon on the Mount. “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” Jesus is not telling us to be a doormat. He also tells us to “shake the dust off our feet and leave.”
Don’t hit back, which is what I wanted to do to that seventeen-year-old.