Claiming that “somebody was mean to me first,” seems to be today’s “get out of jail free card.” Even the father of the latest school shooter excused his son’s actions saying, “My son, to me, is not a criminal, he’s a victim,” because he was “bullied.”
While being sympathetic to people in the aftermath of tragedy, we cannot excuse evil because other wrongs might have preceded it. If we did, we’d excuse every sin.
Christians are called to good in the face of evil. Beginning with “turning the other cheek,” (Matt. 5:39) moving on to “love your enemies, and do good,” (Luke 6:35) and then even “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone… Never take your own revenge… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,” (Rom. 12:17-21).
This takes great faith and resiliency because we have strong desires to strike back. But Jesus left us an example of not kicking and cussing at people and problems. As it says, “While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously,” (1 Pet. 2:23). Only determined efforts to be Christ-like and truly selfless, which He alone empowers us to do, will succeed. But this life has great rewards.
As it was prophesied of Him long ago. “A bruised reed He will not break, And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not be disheartened or crushed,” (Isa. 41:2,3). This is our model for dealing with others.