“… A wise person stays calm when insulted.” Proverbs 12:16
I’d not come across this verse before, but it really reminded me of how God breaks our cycle of hurt and revenge and how He gives us the power and choice to do the same.
When we are insulted (or at the very least, criticised) it’s all to easy to lash out in defence of ourselves, a move which can often inflame a situation. Often a simple comment can escalate into a full-blown argument because of the initial response. The apostle James references this proverb when he writes about how to live properly, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)
By slowing down, and thinking about a response, rather than reacting to a painful comment (however hurtful, critical or insulting) we can stop that cycle of escalation before it even starts.
That’s what struck me about God breaking our cycles of hurt & revenge – responding to a hurtful comment with another one etc. He gives us the opportunity to forgive, and in that moment be wise, by understanding the consequences of a retort based in hurt. He gives us the power of forgiveness, of foregoing that pain and letting it pass by, rather than fuelling it.
That power is the power of the cross and the sacrifice Jesus made, to take the brunt of the world’s sins and bring about their forgiveness. That sacrifice is the ultimate cycle-breaker.
This verse made me remember that we have the power to break the cycle of hurt and revenge too.