Revenge: Take My Ball and Go Home!
When I was a child, our neighborhood would get together and play ball. For the most part, we would have a good time. However, sometimes, someone would get upset over something that he or she didn’t like. When this happened, there was usually some kind of fuss. If the kid who brought the ball was involved in the fuss, and he didn’t get his way, he would say, “I’m going to take my ball and go home.” This was an effective strategy of revenge because the result was that this ended the game for everyone. The child was saying, “You won’t let me play the way that I want, so I am going to punish you by taking away your ability to play.” What childish behavior!
Unfortunately, some adults behave the same way that children do. When the church is trying to do a good work, and something happens that they don’t like, instead of constructively seeking to make things better, they take their proverbial ball and go home. They would rather see a good work fail just to have their way. This attitude of “my way or the highway” is sinful. It is contrary to the attitude that Jesus had on the cross when he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). It is contrary to Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 5:21, “submitting to one another in the fear of God.” Romans 12:17 says “Repay no one evil for evil.” Romans 12:19 says, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather, give place to wrath.” Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” May we all strive to be like Jesus in love for one another.