Monday’s game between the Giants and Nationals has created a stir in the baseball world with Bryce Harper charging the mound to attack Hunter Strickland after being nailed in the hip with a 98-mph fastball.
The two exchanged blows, landed some punches, and the benches cleared. Harper didn’t appreciate the pitch hitting him, and all indications point to Strickland intentionally sending a message to Harper for his antics during the playoffs years ago.
Their roles in the melee resulted in Strickland being suspended for six games and Harper for four games.
I can’t deny that something inside me loves a good ole’ fashioned fist fight or a pitcher-batter scuffle on the mound during a baseball game. It usually comes out of the blue and always raises the intensity of the game.
There has been debate over these types of fights being good for baseball, since they create interest and bring attention to the sport. There are even conversations taking place about Harper having the right to respond the way he did because the pitch seemed intentional.
I heard one broadcaster who was calling the game say, “I do not blame Bryce Harper for being upset.”
There appears to be a natural reaction from many of us. We either understand why a player would have frustration after being hit or enjoy watching retaliation take place.
However, as we address our personal feelings about situations like this or ones in our own lives, we must consider how Jesus wants us to react.
Although the desire for revenge is usually our initial thought, as followers of Jesus, we are called to obediently do the unthinkable: NOT retaliate.
Of course we can’t do that in our own strength, so we must heavily rely on God’s power to hold us back from responding poorly…even while experiencing pain and frustration.
The Bible is very clear that we are commanded to view revenge in a different light. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 (ESV) says, “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”
1 Peter 3:9 (AMP) also tell us to “…never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse], but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection]; for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection].”
Today, instead of getting even by retaliating and “charging the mound,” let’s get blessed by seeking to do good to one another – even to those who hurt us. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I admit that sometimes my first thought is to get back at others for what they’ve done to me. Instead, please give me strength, peace, and patience, so that I respond the way You’ve commanded me. Help me to remember the grace that has been shown to me through Jesus. It’s in His name I pray, Amen.