Mercy and grace are pillars of Christianity but they do not come naturally to us. When someone does wrong to us, our natural reaction is to want to get revenge. But as followers of Jesus, a spirit of vengeance is the opposite of what we should display. We should forgive and seek to do good to those who would do us harm.
Even the disciples of Jesus struggled with this attitude of vengeance. Luke 9:51-56 records a story of a time when two of them, James and John, wanted to get even with a whole village of people because that village had refused to let Christ in. In their anger and unforgiveness, they asked permission from Jesus to call down fire from heaven on those who rejected Him. Jesus response was to rebuke them. He said, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”
We will be tempted to seek vengeance and retribution on people who wrong to us or those we love. But that is the wrong kind of spirit. Jesus taught us by His word and His example that it is wrong to seek revenge on others or to have a malicious spirit that wants to see others harmed. Jesus didn’t get even with those who did Him wrong, thought He could have done so and been perfectly just in doing it. He suffered wrongly and He did it for our sakes as well as theirs.
Jesus came, not to destroy, but to save. We must have the same attitude because we are His followers. We must choose to show mercy and have a spirit of forgiveness.