Should we get back to or get back at people?

In Romans 12:17, the Apostle Paul reminds us, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil.”

Paul is showing us how to follow the example of Christ. To repay someone evil for evil is to want to get even with them. We want to pay them back for what they did. It may seem justifiable from a human perspective. But the spirit wants to bring an internal transformation into our lives.

That is what enables us to think, act and live more like Jesus. That is why it would be fair to say it is the will of God for us to get back to, not get back at, the people who hurt us. After all, that is what our heavenly father did for us. That is what he desires for us.

If you are intentional in looking for ways to get back to instead of getting back at the other person, that will prevent you from going halfway when it comes to restoring broken relationships. Halfway might mean folding my arms and saying, “I forgave him/her. Now, I am going to wait. It is up to them now.” That is not the posture Jesus took with us, is it?

Aren’t you glad God did not stop at forgiveness with you? God’s forgiveness is a means to an end and reconciliation was not the end. God made the first move. He moved in our direction. His goal was to get back to us, or better said, get us back to him. This is what love requires of all of us. While we may be able to forgive from a distance, we cannot reconcile from a distance. Reconciliation requires proximity.

Are you willing to allow the Lord to examine your heart in this matter? If there is something in you that wants to forgive the other person and wait for them to make the next move, maybe you haven’t forgiven them as completely as you think.

Before something changes in the relationship, something may need to change in you. Are you open to that possibility? This is about focusing our attention on the things we can control, and it is about learning to live with no regret.

This is not easy to digest. I am not sure it can be done on our own. I am convinced we need God’s help to get it right. We also might need the support of a good Christian counselor or a trusted friend. Even though the investment is high, I am convinced the payoff will be worth it.

Steve Greene is the lead pastor of The Point in Seymour. Read his blog at or email him at [email protected]. Send comments to [email protected].