If you’re a sports fan, you know retaliation is the foul that is almost always noticed and penalized by the referee. No matter the protest afterward, it’s the retaliator not the original offender most often punished.

Then again, there is the make-up call. An honest referee knows what’s going on. If he believes the protest, the original offender better not provide any reason whatsoever for the zebra to stop play. And so goes life. We seek to find justice yet always fall a bit short.

If you have ever broken up a fight on the playground, you will hear the phrase “He started it!” I’ve always found that line of thinking a bit humorous as if there were no history to consider. Usually, for two to fight, someone has had enough. Someone stepped over the invisible line. And to everyone’s surprise, a fight breaks out.

This is the world in which we live and retaliation comes in many forms. A plot to secretly get even, a wall disguised as a boundary, a grudge, open hostility, and the ole high road. What really needs to happen is the honest acknowledgement of hurt. You’ve been wounded by another. Most likely, someone close to you. That’s why it hurts so much.

Your sense of safety has been violated. You’re unable to see the big picture because this is all you see. It’s as if you are the only victim.

Here’s the truth. When someone has sinned against you, the world has been hurt. Sin cannot be contained inside you, your home, family, business, or your neighborhood. A sin against one is a sin against all, including the guilty one.

If you have sinned against another or they you, it needs to be acknowledged. It needs to be mourned. It needs to settle in for what it is and then it needs to be conquered through forgiveness. Without forgiveness, we all lose.

Where do you need mercy and forgiveness? Ponder this and let it be a guide helping you work through the ministry of forgiveness.

“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him”

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