DO YOU know any boys or girls who try to act big and tough?— Do you like to be with them? Or would you rather be with someone who is kind and wants peace?— The Great Teacher said: “Happy are the peaceable, since they will be called ‘sons of God.’”
But sometimes other people do things that make us angry. Isn’t that true?— So we may feel like getting even with them. Once this happened to Jesus’ disciples when they were traveling with Jesus toward Jerusalem. Let me tell you about it.
When they had gone some distance, Jesus sent a few of his disciples ahead to a Samaritan village to find a place for them to rest. But the people there did not want them to stay, since the Samaritans had a different religion. And they didn’t like anyone that went to the city of Jerusalem to worship.
If that had happened to you, what would you have done? Would you have got angry? Would you have wanted to get even with them?— That is what the disciples James and John wanted to do. They said to Jesus: ‘Do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and destroy them?’ No wonder Jesus called them Sons of Thunder! But Jesus told them it was not right to treat other people that way.
It is true that people may be mean to us at times. Other children may not want us to play in their games. They may even say: “We don’t want you around here.” When something like that happens, it can make us feel bad, can’t it? We may feel like doing something to get even with them. But should we?—
Why not get your Bible? Let’s turn to Proverbs chapter 24, verse 29. There it reads: “Do not say: ‘Just as he did to me, so I am going to do to him. I shall repay to each one according to his acting.’”
What does that mean to you?— It is saying that we should not try to get even. We should not be mean to a person just because he was mean to us. But what if someone tries to pick a fight with you? He may try to get you angry by calling you names. He may laugh at you and say that you’re scared. Suppose he calls you a coward. What should you do? Should you let yourself get into a fight?—
Again, let’s see what the Bible says. Turn to Matthew chapter 5, verse 39. There Jesus says: “Do not resist him that is wicked; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other also to him.” What do you think Jesus meant by that? Did he mean that if someone hits you with his fist on one side of your face, you should let him hit you on the other side?—
No, Jesus did not mean that at all. A slap is not like a hit with the fist. It is more like a push or a shove. A person may slap us to pick a fight. He wants us to get angry. And if we get angry and we push or shove back, what happens?— We will probably get into a fight.
But Jesus did not want his followers to get into fights. So he said that if someone slaps us, we should not slap him back. We should not become angry and get into a fight. If we do, we show that we are no better than the one who started the fight.
If trouble starts, what do you think is the best thing to do?— It is to walk away. The other person may push or shove you a few more times. But that will probably be the end of it. When you walk away, it does not mean that you are weak. It means that you are strong for what is right.
But what if you let yourself get into a fight and you win? What could happen then?— The one you beat up could come back with some friends. They might even hurt you with a big stick or a knife. So, can you see now why Jesus did not want us to get into fights?—
What should we do if we see other people fighting? Should we take sides with one or the other?— The Bible tells us what is right. Turn to Proverbs chapter 26, verse 17. It says: “As one grabbing hold of the ears of a dog is anyone passing by that is becoming furious at the quarrel that is not his.”
What would happen if you grabbed hold of the ears of a dog? It would hurt the dog, and he would snap at you, wouldn’t he? The more the dog tried to get loose, the harder you would have to hold on to the ears and the more excited the dog would get. If you let him go, he would probably bite you hard. But can you just stand there and hold his ears forever?—
Well, that is the kind of trouble that we would be in if we got mixed up in a fight between other people. We may not know who started the fight or why they are fighting. One person may be getting beaten up, but perhaps he stole something from the other one. If we helped him, we would be helping a thief. That would not be good, would it?
So, what should you do if you see a fight?— If it is at school, you can run and tell a teacher. And if it is away from school, you can call one of your parents or a policeman. Yes, even when other people want to fight, we should be peaceable.
True disciples of Jesus do all they can to avoid getting into fights. In this way we show that we are strong for what is right. The Bible says that a disciple of Jesus “does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all.”
Now let’s look at more good counsel that will help us stay out of fights: Romans 12:17-21 and 1 Peter 3:10, 11.