Make My Day

Make My Day

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words


Gary Pollard

Conditioned response describes a person’s reaction to stimuli or situations. Those of you who watch The Office are probably already thinking about Jim Halpert’s famous prank on Dwight involving Altoids.

Conditioned response is also used in defense training. It’s developed through training and repetition. With enough preparation, a person can automatically respond to life-threatening situations with optimum safety and precision, regardless of inevitable panic. It’s basically autopilot for extreme situations.

God expects us to develop a conditioned response, too. He described it (through Paul) in I Corinthians 4.11-13.

Our conditioned response to physical beatings: nothing (4.11). Paul was punched a few times and likely did nothing in retaliation. Context reinforces this understanding of his silence on the subject.

Our conditioned response to being insulted should be to compliment the offender (4.12). If not verbally, we should mentally wish them only the best and mean it.

Our conditioned response to harassment should be acceptance with patience (4.12). Our conditioned response to character defamation should be gentle appeal (4.13).

This doesn’t come naturally at all. We’re taught to stand up for ourselves and not let people run over us! There’s a time and place for self-defense, but those times are, thankfully, quite rare.

What better way to show we genuinely love people than instinctively responding the way Paul did? Jesus made that a part of who He was, and we get eternal life because of it. We can actually help others find eternal life by instinctively reacting with love!

Revenge: A Dish Best Unserved

Revenge: A Dish Best Unserved

Thursday’s Column: Carlnormous Comments

Carl Pollard

Growing up, April first was a nightmare in our house. Dale and I would plan months in advance all the pranks we would do to each other. April Fool’s Day would start with small, harmless pranks. I would put soap on Dale’s toothbrush, Dale would tape my matchbox cars to the wall. And everything would be fine…but not for very long. It always ended up getting out of hand. As the day progressed the pranks got meaner and dirtier. I’d get mad and put salt in Dale’s drink, and he would turn around and get revenge by pouring salad dressing in my shoes. I’d get even more upset and would light one of his toys on fire, and Dale would lock me in a closet. But there was one instance I can still remember clearly; it was near the end of April Fool’s Day so we were both at the peak of mean pranks. I stole Dale’s hat while we were at the park, and threw it in the pond. And Dale got his revenge by taking my brand new scooter and throwing it into the lake. It was never seen again. Needless to say, mom banned pranks on April Fool’s for the rest of our time at home.

I say all of that to illustrate the very simple point that revenge never ends well. It doesn’t cultivate relationships, and it never strengthens our influence. Romans 12:19 reads, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Taking revenge can be quite tempting. Our sin-fueled, human emotions will naturally push us to take revenge and to get even with those who hurt us. We want to hurt those who hurt us. We want to insult them and avenge ourselves. Why? Because if we are honest, it feels good. It feels good to brake check the person that cut us off. It feels good to insult the person that spoke rudely to us. It feels good to take revenge because. WE want to get even with others. We take revenge because we selfishly think only of ourselves and how it’ll make US feel. But if we want to be called God’s children we must leave the avenging to our Father.

As Christians we should expect the world to hurt us because it’s driven by sin. The Christian, however, shouldn’t be the same because we are led by God. Taking revenge harms our influence, and it shows that we don’t truly trust that God will avenge us. God is our avenger and we must be careful to not practice what God has rightfully claimed. By following this command, not only are we letting God take care of us,  we also open the door to a healthy relationship with those in the world as well as in the Church.