During the NBA playoffs, players raise the intensity level with tighter defense and harder fouls. The series between the Cavs and Raptors is especially being played with more physicality.  

Slowing down LeBron James is almost impossible, but the Raptors are trying hard by practically tackling him when he drives to the basket. James is taking some hits, and guys like Bismack Biyombo are being called for flagrant fouls against him.

To Lebron’s credit, he handles the “playoff fouls” pretty well. He understands that retaliating after a hard foul isn’t what’s best for his team.

James recently gives this explanation: “At the end of the day, I’m important to this team. I can’t afford to react in any kind of way that will get me thrown out of a game, but I will protect myself, I will protect myself.”

Despite the frustration of continuously being fouled, and having opponents determinedly rough him up a bit, James shows great restraint in his response to this challenging situation…and that’s something worth acknowledging.

Although we probably won’t be driving to the basket and absorbing a brutal foul today, chances are we’ll have plenty of opportunities to react positively or negatively to something or someone.

When we decide to follow Jesus and take a stand for Him, there will be opponents who try to drag us down and attempt to take us out in one way or another. We will face “flagrant fouls” from time to time that force us to choose how to retaliate.

The Bible tells us in Romans 12:17 (ESV), Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.”

Romans 12:17-19 in The Message says, “Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do.  ‘I’ll do the judging,’ says God. ‘I’ll take care of it.’”

Reacting honorably when someone wrongs us is not an easy thing to do. However, when we take into account what Jesus did for us on the cross, showing grace and mercy to others can become our go-to response…even when we get a little clobbered. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the grace and mercy You show me because of Jesus. Please give me the strength to not retaliate or repay evil with evil when someone wrongs me. Please help me to trust You to do the judging, and help me to remember that You will take care of it, so I don’t have to. Forgive me for the times I’ve reacted poorly to the opponents in my life, but thanks again for Your grace and mercy. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.