Andy Stanley - Even Is Easy
So, today is part one of a two part series entitled, "Mean people and what to do about them". Mean people and what to do about them. I thought about entitling this series "Bad people and what to do about them" but we hesitate to call anybody bad. We say things like these, "He's really not a bad person". And this is what we say, "He's really not a bad person. He just bad things, a lot". Which I think that's what it means to be a bad person. So, we're not going to do bad person, we're gonna do mean person. We're gonna stick with mean people. and specifically what should we do about the mean people in our lives. And by mean, I mean, mean. These are the unpleasant people, these are the deceptive people. These are the people that control with time or money or with our children. These are the users. They're just unkind. It may be that person that when you see them coming, you just don't wanna interact with them because well, there's just no other way to say it. They're just mean.
And to be clear, this isn't to say we're not often mean. I mean, all of us have been mean at some point. In fact, there's somebody maybe who's going to see or hear this message and unfortunately, we're going to come to mind. But generally, what we talk about when we're together is how to live a life in such a way and to live our lives in such a way that we're not the mean people. So, we're not discounting the fact that from time to time we can be mean and certainly have the potential to be perhaps as mean as the meanest person we've ever met. But these two messages are gonna focus on how to respond to and how to react to the mean people in our lives. Now, the reason this is so important is this. If you don't have a plan and if I don't have a plan, if we're not prepared and honestly we gonna see if we're not somewhat proactive, here's what happens and we've all experienced this.
The mean people, the mean people in our lives, ultimately they gain a measure of control over our lives. And before we know it, we're actually acting like they do and it feels in the moment as if we have no choice. In fact if somebody would hear your story or when you tell your story and you talk about how you've reacted to or responded to the person that is mean to you, the person hears your stories like, "Well, who could blame you"? It's almost like you have no choice. And the reason it feels like we have no choice is this. That mean people... And we don't think in these terms when we're in the relationship. But mean people, without even meaning to, they just keep us off balance. We're just always all balanced. We don't know what we're walking into and we don't know how to respond. They kind of lean left and we kind of lean right because when we're off balance, what happens? We're forced to compensate.
This is why in these relationships, you feel like you're not even yourself. In fact, somebody may have said to you "When you're around him, when you're around her, when you're together, I feel like you're not even yourself". Why? Because when we're around these kinds of people, we are forced to compensate. If somebody walks up and pushes you off balance, everything in you, you compensate to regain your balance. But the problem with the mean person is it is impossible. It is virtually impossible to maintain and keep your balance.
I'll give you a quick illustration that actually is a long illustration I'm gonna try to keep short. When my mom who died when she was 82, when my mom was in her late thirties, she met a young woman in her late twenties that she helped her out and they became lifelong friends. Her name was Alice. And Alice actually used to stay with my sister and me when my parents would go out of town. So, I've known Alice basically my whole life. So, then when my mom was in her seventies and basically she couldn't drive anymore and she really had needed some help at home, Alice would actually drive 45 minutes from her home. Now, Alice is in her late sixties. She would drive from her home 45 minutes to my mom's home every single week to go through my mom's mail, pay my mom's bills, balance my mom's checkbook and just answer any questions and just spend time with my mom, which I was so grateful for.
So, my mom invested in her, now she's investing in my mom. And again, it took so much pressure off of me, so extraordinarily grateful. So, as my mom neared the end of her life, and as she was less and less able to take care of herself, Alice began to lose her sight. And before long, she couldn't drive any longer and she was basically shut-in in her own home. And then Sandra, my wife began doing for Alice what Alice had done for my mom. She would drive over every single week, go through the mail, pay the bills, balance the checkbook, and just answer any questions that she had. And so, she was kind of giving back based on what Alice had so graciously done for my mom. So, as time goes by, it becomes clear to us that Alice can't stay in her house any longer because technically she was living alone. We'll come back to that in just a minute. And so, Sandra convinced Alice that she needed to move to assisted living.
Now, if any one ear has ever moved a parent or a spouse's parents who assisted living, it is so complicated. But it's even more complicated when trying to move somebody who is not a family member. So, Sandra got an attorney, she became Alice's official legal power of attorney and then she got another friend of Alice's to become Alice's medical power of attorney. So, there's kind of team Alice but because Alice had never married, she had no kids, she'd pretty much outlived almost all of her friends and certainly her parents and her brother and sister. And so, she's alone in the world and so we're gonna take care of Alice. So, about nine months before the process began to get her into assisted living, the goal was get her in assisted living. And in fact, Sandra found a place two miles from our house because we're committed to Alice for the rest of her life. She found this place and Alice could almost afford it based with her pension and with her social security but there was gonna be a gap.
So, the goal is get her out, clean out her house, sell the stuff, sell the house, a little bit of equity, put the money in the bank and we'll just go from there. So, that's the plan, very complicated especially when you're not related to the person. Well, anyway, about eight or nine months before that process began, an old friend of Alice's showed up at her front door, a gentleman in his late sixties, keeping all this straight. And he said, "Alice, I'm destitute. I don't have a place to live. I've been living in my car, it's getting cold. Would it be okay if I moved in with you for just a few months"?
Now, Alice had been warned and later we were warned that this guy's name is Roger. That if you let Roger move in, you're gonna have a difficult time getting Roger to move out. She had been told that, and she'd known him for a while. And somebody told us that when we heard about Roger moving in but she allowed him to move into one of her spare bedrooms. And actually, honestly, he was pretty helpful because he could drive and he could take her to her doctor's visits, he would bring us the mail sometimes, he seemed like the nicest guy and I couldn't imagine this was gonna be a problem besides he knew we're gonna sell her house and so, if we sell her house, you'll probably have to move out by that point, right. So, I felt like there was kind of a built-in deadline, this wouldn't be a problem.
So, sure enough, he was pretty helpful. Sandra did, I wouldn't say estate sale. It was more of garage sale than estate sale if you know what I mean. There wasn't a lot to sell but we had an estate sale or a garage sale. Roger was actually helpful. He actually even bought some of her stuff to put in his storage unit that he said he had, which was great. Now, he wasn't paying any rent, wasn't paying any bills, wasn't buying any groceries. I mean, there was no cash outlet. He was living for free for all these months. And so, we finally have to get Alice move to this assisted living place close to us, that was an event. We get the house cleaned out, we do this big garage sale. Sandra put signs out that the house is gonna go for sale and the real estate market right now is so hot. So, she starts getting calls and now she's gotta show the house but now the house is completely empty. I mean, she sold everything and then threw everything else away and just mammoth tasks if you've ever done that for someone.
And so Sandra is riding point on this whole process. And then, we got to show the house but the problem is there's, "Come see this house, it's completely empty except don't go in that bedroom. There's a air mattress with some clothes in the closet and a computer on the floor. don't mind the guy camping out in the house". It's gonna be kind of hard to show this house, right. Well, so she started showing the house and so we're like, "Roger, okay. Thank you, you got to go". And he just ignores us. So, Sandra gives him a deadline. Gives him three weeks. By this day, he agreed that, "On that Monday, I'll be gone". Monday comes, Monday goes, he's still there. And it becomes apparent he's not moving out. In fact, because Alex isn't living in a house right now, Sandra shut off all the unnecessary utilities including the television service and she gets a bill from the television provider. She calls us and "No, I canceled that". And the person on the other end of the line said, "Well, somebody called and had it turned back on". And Roger had called the television provider and had the television service turned back on and Sandra left the internet on because he said he needed internet.
So, this begins to escalate and escalate and escalate. And it's all we're thinking about and talking about everyday I come home I'm like, "Have you heard from Roger? Have you talked to Roger? Has Roger moved out"? And we've got all these other people that are like, we've got to get Roger out but it's kind of resting on us. So, we're sitting on the couch late one afternoon, Sandra calls, Roger. I said, "Put it on speaker phone". And of course I'm trying not to get involved because Sandra throughout the processes is that, "Andy, you cannot get involved because I wanted to get involved". And I only had one tool. I wanna use my tool and she's like, "You can't use your tool".
So, they have this conversation on speakerphone and he is so rude, I've never heard anyone speak to my wife this way. I was so angry and she's kind of leaning this way and I'm reaching for the phone. I just want to take the phone and say... And she's like, "No, no, no". And he's saying, "I'm gonna sue you. You can't kick me out. The law doesn't allow you to kick out a renter". I'm like, "Renter"? That assumes rent. I mean, this guy's paid nothing. He's taken advantage of an 80 year old woman. We're trying to close her house and we put money in the bank because there's a monthly gap between her pension source of security to stay in this assisted living place and he is so rude to Sandra. Okay, this is how bad it gets. So, we get a contract on a house. It's full price offer plus no contingencies. It's perfect, it's more money than we thought we could give for Alice's house and she so desperately needs this money.
And so, Roger, you're gonna think I'm making this up. Roger finds out who the purchaser's agent is and goes to the office of the purchasing agent, the person representing the family buying the house. Goes in and says, "I need you to know this is gonna be a fraudulent closing. Yes, the one then who claims to have power of attorney over this old person has manipulated the old person to get power of the attorney and she has no legal right to do this and I'm not moving out and you need to be careful". And it's gonna ruin this closing that Sandra has worked so hard to get us to the finish line. We're almost there. So, of course the purchasing agent calls the seller's agent, Alice's agent and all of a sudden we're about to lose this whole deal.
Now, how do you think we responded to all this? What's our response? Well, you can imagine because you can imagine your response. You know what we did and this is kind of embarrassing and I'm not even gonna give you the details. It's so embarrassing. We sat around day after day, night after night coming up the most devious, manipulative ways you can imagine to get Roger out of the house, I'm telling you. There were times we just listened to each other and say, "Who are we? Who have we become"? We had a pesticide option, I won't even go into it. No lie. Then I said, you know what? I know some kind of other crazy people. We should just invite some other people to live in the house, live in Alice's house with Roger until he finally gets fed up and moves on. There was to turn off the electricity and the water option which we could have done because Alice is paying bills for him. I mean, there are others I won't even go into.
But we realized what was happening. We're starting to become like Roger. We're becoming like him, we don't even like him. It was all we talked about to the point honestly. It was as if Roger had moved in with us because it so focused our attention every single day. How do we get Roger out of the house before this closing? We couldn't even believe somebody would give us a contract and give Alice a contract on the house because they'd never seen the house empty, because there's a guy camping out in one of the bedrooms. Now, in part two, I'm going to come back and tell you how that story resolved. So, yeah, I know. Okay, sorry to do that. But the point is simply this, and you know this. It is so difficult to be good to people who just aren't good, right. No matter what kind of faith you have in the moment, it is so difficult to be kind to people who just seems like in their heart they're just unkind or sensitive to people who are insensitive. The golden rule just doesn't seem to apply.
You know the golden rule? Do unto others as you would have others do on to you. And this is great until somebody mistreats you. And it's great until somebody mistreats me or mistreat somebody that I love. And for me in this particular story, it's a double-edged sword because I loved Alice and I wanted us to help Alice but I was watching my wife be mistreated at the same time and I'm supposed to do unto Roger as I would have Roger do under me and suddenly the golden rule is out the window. Now it's the iron rule. I just made this up but you understand the iron rule. It's do unto others as they have done unto you, right. And this doesn't only feel natural. It doesn't only just feel natural to treat people the way they've treated us. In the moment, it just seems right, it just seems fair. And in fact, if I were to go into detail about some of these crazy ideas, we had to get Roger out of the house after hearing just the part of the story I've told you. You would be like, "Yeah". Me, "Why wouldn't you do all that"? It just seems right, it seems fair, it seems just, it seems even.
And then, there's this, and maybe this is a little close to home because maybe this is maybe part of your story or maybe part of your story growing up or maybe it's part of the story of your first marriage. When we're mistreated in a relationship and we powerless to do anything about it, again, we're off balance, we compensate. But sometimes we compensate not in the relationship with the person that threw us off balanced. You've seen this happen. We compensate in another relationship. We compensate somewhere with somebody else. I'll take it out on you because I can't take it out on him. I can't take it out on her. I can't get back at them. I can't go back into the office and take it out on the people that mistreated me at work but I've got all this energy, I'm off balance. And then, it's doing to others. It's doing others as someone else has done unto you. So, round and round and round it goes and you know what? We've all been there at some level. Maybe not a big level but at some level we've all been a part of this dynamic.
So, here's the question. Here's what talking about. What do we do? I mean, what do you do about the mean people? Maybe it was your ex, maybe it's a neighbor, maybe it's a boss, a sister, a sister-in-law, and there's just no way to extricate yourself from the relationship because the nature of the relationship but they're just mean. And it's fun, I'll admit it. It's fun to daydream about getting even but the problem of course is, and you know this. It's that getting even makes us even. Getting even makes us even with someone that we don't even like, it makes us like someone that we dislike. So, what do we do? We can't ignore them, right. That's impossible. And if you ignore them, you know what they do, right. They just keep chipping away, chipping away, chipping away and eventually we built break and we react and it's like we've given them even more power over us.
So, ignoring them isn't the way forward and getting even isn't the way forward. Unfortunately, there's a third option. There's a third option that it's not intuitive. It's a third option that actually decreases their power over us. And honestly, it's the third option that allows us to guard and protect our hearts. And it positions us when this is said and done to tell a much better story. Of course, the way forward is taught and modeled by Jesus but it's also modeled in the Old Testament by a relatively unknown individual whose life intersects with the life of David. Now, many of us, if you grow up around church or in church are familiar with who king David was but this event doesn't take place when he's King David or even shepherd boy David, this event takes place when he is fugitive David. After David as a young as a teenager killed Goliath, remember that story. He becomes a national hero in Israel, in ancient Israel.
And so, King Saul, the king at the time draws him in close because David's a leader, he's a national hero, you wanna keep your friends close, you wanna keep your potential rivals even closer. And then King Saul gets word that some rogue prophet has gone to David's home as a little boy and anointed David to be the next king of Israel. Now, this is a real problem if you're already the king because not only do you want to finish out your years as king, you want your son, in this case, Jonathan to become the next king. Now this is messing with his dynasty.
So, King Saul tries to kill David. David escapes, he becomes a fugitive, he's living out in the wilderness, he's had to leave his family over time because he's a leader. He attracts other men like him, other angry, mistreated outlaws before long, he has his own little miniature army of about 600 men plus their wives and all their stuff and they're outcast from society, they have no place to call home and they're all angry because each of them have their own story of being mistreated and the injustice that had happened under King Saul. And David's got all this anger and all this frustration of course like any of us, he's looking for a place to sort of take it out. Somebody to take it out on because king Saul is untouchable. And in this story, he finally finds a victim and that's where the story picks up. So, I'll read part of the story and then we're gonna stop in the middle, pick it up next time.
Here's what happens. "A certain man", this is the 1 Samuel 25. And Samuel is essentially David's biographer in a sense. "A certain man and Moan, who had property there in Carmel was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats". You read this in ancient times, it's like. For us it's like, "What would you do with the thousand goats"? So, he had a thousand goats. He had garages full of cars, think of it that way. "He had 3000 sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel, and his name was Nabal".
Now, sheep shearing season in ancient times, this is when wealthy people found out how much wealthier they had just become. This was like a financial report, an annual financial report. He's about to find out how much wealthier he just became based on how many sheep were actually alive to be sheared and the product they had as a result that they could then sell. So, this is a good day. This is a great day for him. The rich just get richer. He's about to find out how much profit he turned. So, the story continues. "His name was Nabal and his wife's name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman but her husband was harsh and mean in his dealings". In fact, his name actually means heavy. In this Hebrew word here actually means heavy. He was basically a pain to deal with. He was a burden to deal with. In fact the text tells us he was just a mean person.
Text continues. "While David and his men were in the wilderness, he heard that Nepal was shearing sheep". So, he was like, "Hey, this rich guy is about to get richer". So, he sent 10 of his young men and he said to them, "I want you to give Nabal a message. Go up to Nepal at Caramel and greet him in my name. So, when you show up, let everybody know you're coming in David's name and say to him, Greet him this way, say, 'Long life to you Nabal, good health to you and your household and good health to all that is yours.'" This was a formal ancient greeting that basically said, "I come in peace". And then make sure you give him the message. And here's the message. "When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them. The whole time they were at Carmel, nothing of theirs went missing". In other words, while your shepherds were out watching over their flocks by night, night after night after night during that season, our men were all around them all the time and we never stole anything.
So, there's a sense in which your profit is due in part to our protection. Not only do we not allow our men to steal anything from you, we didn't allow the other rogues in the area to steal anything from you as well. And he said, "And if you don't take my word for it", this message continues this way, "Ask your own servants and they'll tell you. Therefore, be favorable toward my men since we come festive time. And please, if you would. Please give your servants and your son, David whatever you can find for them". In other words, you're gonna have extra. We kind of helped you create that extra. If you wouldn't mind sharing with us, that would be great. So, "When David's men arrived, they went to Carmel. When they arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David's name and then they waited and they waited and they waited". Because the ball was making them wait.
Now, while they're waiting on Nabal, I just wanna say a word about David. And this is gonna be difficult for some of us again based on our view of David growing up in Sunday school or church but when you read his biography, David was a very violent man. He was not someone to be trifled with. When he lived in the land of the Philistines, he regularly raided Philistine villages and would murder every single person in the village so there would be no one left to tell the tale. In fact, his biographer describes it this way. "Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or a woman alive but took sheep and cattle, donkeys, and camels and all the clothing".
So, he was a dangerous and violent man even by ancient standards. So, Nabal should have known better because certainly he knew the reputation of David, the warrior. So anyway, he keeps them waiting but eventually Nabal sends his answer or perhaps he comes out and gives the answer himself, it's not clear. Nabal answered. Here's what he said. "Nabal answered David's servants, 'Who is this David? You come in David's name, who is David? Who is this son of Jesse?'" So, he knew who David was but he's like, you know what? "Yeah, We've heard of David and you think he's such a big deal. He's not such a big deal. Who is this guy? Hey, come on. He's just one of many. Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days, you're a master is a nobody. Your master is an outlaw. I didn't ask for his help. I didn't need his help. I don't owe him anything. So, No. I'm not gonna share with David and his band of married men. You are dismissed". He says, "Why should I take my bread and water and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers and give it men coming from... Where did you come from again? So, no. You're dismissed". "So, David's men turned around and they went back and when they arrived, they repeated every word. And then David said to his men, 'Oh, well it was worth a try.'" No, "David actually said to his men, 'Each of you strap on your sword.' So they did.'" And then an interesting detail in the text. "And David strapped his on as well".
In other words, you mess with me and you will see. You mess with me and you will pay. Now, there's a reason I think why the author highlights David arming himself with his sword because David's sword was like no other sword. David's sword was actually a reminder that he did not need to return evil for evil. David's sword was actually a reminder that he did not need to take matters into his own hands. In fact, I'm just curious. Do you know where David got his sword? Anybody? Goliath, that's right. He got a sword from Goliath. So, Goliath's sword is a visual aid of God's promise of protection and provision to David. God had chosen him. God had raised him up as a teenager. God had anointed him as king. He did not need to take matters into his own hands. Of anybody on the planet at that time, David was the one person who could turn to God for help and God would in fact intervene on his behalf but David is hurt. David's angry and he can't see any of that. To him, it's just an oversize sword.
The story that goes with the sword, he's forgotten the story. He's forgotten God's provision because he's so angry and he's so hurt. And he redirects his frustration with King Saul, who is that touchable toward Nabal. So, about 400 men. This is amazing. About 400 men went up with David 400 men. Okay, this was an overreaction of epic proportion. This was going to be a massacre. You've heard. We've all heard they hurt people. This is a case of hunted people. Hunt people. So he sets out. And it's so interesting because the biographer once again lets us get inside David's head. He begins in internally to build up a head of steam, to build his case. He's gonna build a case to justify what he's not a hundred percent sure he should be doing.
Ever do that? You're kind of driving home and you're kind of building up ahead of steam. You're practicing your script or you're driving to work, or you're thinking about that afternoon when you see him or you see her. We had those imaginary conversations. At least I do. In my imaginary conversations, I think I've told you this before. When I have an imaginary conversation with people, they're spectators listening to me. Give this person a piece of my mind and then I have this incredible one-liner and the person who's my enemy they're like, "Oh, you're right, you're logic is unassailable". And they just kind of melt off into the distance. And everybody's like, "Andy" and it's not quite like that. But anyway, you have those conversations in your head where you're just gonna say just the right thing and then you're gonna win.
"Hey Andy, I got an idea". I think this was Sandra's idea. "Hey, let's go into the house when Roger's not there and slice his mattress, fold it up, put it on the street with his clothes and his computer and change the locks". It might've been my idea. Anyway, you just visualize what can we do to get back at this person that has done so much to us? In fact, here's the biographer says that David had just said to his guys, "it's been useless. All my watching over this fellow's property". He's kind of building up his case. "In the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. All this I've done for him, think of all the things I've done for him. Think of all of the nights we stayed up. Think of all the things we could have stolen. Think of how wealthy we could already be. But what has he done? He has paid. He is paid me back evil for good". Then he invites God into the equation. "May God deal with me, be it ever so severely. If by morning I leave one male of all who belonged to him alive". In other words, "I'm gonna murder him, I'm gonna kill his male servant and I'm going to kill his sons". That'll teach him to treat me this way.
So, we're going to pause the story there but here's what we have so far. We've got two characters. We have two responses and we have no hero, right. I mean, we have Nabal, we had David, evil for good. David did good, he responded with evil. David who's about to do evil for evil. Nabal is somewhat maniacal and David is about to be predictable. I mean, who could blame him for what he's about to do? And sometimes again, it just seems like evil for evil is the only option. It turns out as I said earlier, it's not. There's a third option and we're going to talk about that in part two. But here's what I want you to do between now and part two. I wanna give you four questions to think about. And again, I would prefer you not to think about these through the filter of other people but just through what's going on right now in your life with the people that are difficult to deal with. You may not consider them mean people, that may not be in extreme or it may be very extreme. But I want you to process these questions through the filter of what's going on right now in your life.
And parents, I can't overstate the importance of this. Parents, I think you need to teach these or questions to your children because your children are, have, or will face some very mean people and their natural reaction like our natural reaction will be evil for evil or to allow that person to continue to control them. And as a parent, this is so difficult to watch. And sometimes as a parent, it's to coach our kids to power up, to return evil for evil because we will feel better, right.
So, these are four questions for us. These are four questions for our kids. Question number one is this. Do you wanna be even with someone you don't even like? No, I already know the answer to this question. No, we don't but our natural response to mean people oftentimes is an attempt to get even with people we don't even like to be like someone that we would readily admit that we dislike. And again, we think somehow once we get even, that ends it but that doesn't end it, right. That doesn't end the cycle. It actually perpetuates it.
Recently, I heard Jamie Dekin say, "It's not evil for evil, it just becomes evil for evil for evil for evil for evil for evil for evil. It just goes on and on and on". So, do you wanna be part or do I wanna be part of perpetuating that cycle? The question number two. Wouldn't you rather be ahead? I mean, do you want to get even with someone you don't even like or wouldn't you rather be ahead? Wouldn't you prefer to be unlike the person or the people that you dislike? And as I said earlier, this is so not intuitive. But here's the thing. And when I say it, you know it's true. Unlike any other arena of life, you actually relationally pull ahead by refusing to get even. You actually pull ahead by refusing to get even. And that leads to a third question that we ask a lot around here within several different contexts. It's simply this.
In fact, this is third question. Don't miss next time because this third question is a question that the character that we will introduce next time actually baits David into asking about his own future. And the third question is this, when this is nothing more than a story you tell. What story do you wanna tell? When your response to this current relationship is nothing more than the story you tell, what story do you want to tell? Do you want to tell the story that I ended up just like the person that I dislike because I allowed them to infuriate me into acting just like them? It's not a good story. It's not the story that any of us wanna tell.
And then the fourth question, the fourth question is the on-ramp to the solution. The fourth question is the on-ramp to pulling ahead. And the fourth question sets us up and puts us in this uncomfortable space that we know we probably should step into. And if you're a Jesus follower, if you're Christian, you know with certainty, you've been called to step into it but it's so uncomfortable. The fourth question is this. What would it look like? And you don't have to commit to this. You just have to have an internal conversation. What would it look like to return good for evil? Not just refuse to react or to react in like kind, but to be kind. Not just refuse to be bad but to take seriously the words of Jesus because he was so direct about this.
I mean, a lot of things Jesus said we have a hard time figuring out this is too clear. He said, "I want you to do good to those who mistreat you". Don't just put up with them. Don't just forgive them. Don't just ignore them. Don't just try not to be like them. Jesus says, "Nope, that's not enough". I want you to think through how to do good to those who mistreat you because Jesus knew that doing good to people who have not been good to us is ultimately what frees us but protects our heart. Getting even is natural. It's predictable. Jesus has invited us to be unpredictable. Jesus has invited us to do something extraordinary. It's as if He's saying, "Don't be predictable, don't write a predictable story. Write a remarkable story, write that story that's worth telling".
And what will determine whether or not that story is worth telling is not what the other person does 'cause you have no control over that. It is 100% right here in our decision whether or not to respond either in light kind or to be kind, to do good for those who have mistreated us. Remarkable begins with an honest answer to this question. What would it look like to return good for evil? What would it look like to do good to the person who has mistreated you? Because you don't pull ahead by attempting to get evil. And we will pick it up right there next time in part two of mean people.