A friend posted this convicting encouragement on Instagram recently:
My immediate tempting thought was “Can I throat punch them first?” — not even realizing that today is “Throat Punch Thursday”.
Surely Jesus must have covered that and it just got left out of the book? Every mean, aggressive, unfriendly, unfair person could use a good throat punch to humble them, right?
But no, that’s what they already know and understand. We need to bring something new and peculiar into the realm of possibilities within their world — underserved, unmerited, unexpected grace.
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:43-48 NLT
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord . Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Romans 12:17-21 NLT
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Romans 5:6-8 NLT
You know, we laugh at this because we don’t normally go around assaulting people or we would be locked up in jail or prison if we did.
But what about those unkind responses we “throat punch” others with online and justify to ourselves that “they were wrong”, or “they deserved it”, or “they needed to be corrected”?
We can’t use the excuse “I’m sharing truth in love” when we haven’t virtually extended our hand to help them up but we’ve shocked them with a virtual throat punch.
Lord help us. Lord help me. Amen.