Have you ever seen a Newton’s Cradle? A Newton’s Cradle is the famous office accessory with the five metal spheres that hang in a row. Pull the first one back and it crashes into the other four, sending the final sphere flying. Then, the final sphere swings back, crashes into the other four, and sends the first one flying once more. And on and on the back-and-forth goes.
Lots of relationships are like that. Someone hurts us with their words (or lack of them when we were in need). They text or email something harsh and unfair, crashing into our hearts and wounding us deeply. In reply, our sinful nature swings back, proving that “hurt people hurt people.” Yet, as you know all too well, no one considers the score settled after one round of sin. In a broken world, we all count the score differently, which is why instead of settling the score, we go into another “overtime” of hurting each other in an exhausting match that can last for years.
Tired of all that? Jesus wants to help. If your relationship with your dad or your sister or someone from work or a grouchy neighbor resembles Newton’s Cradle, can I encourage you to read Philippians chapter 2 today? There you will find a strong call to humility and forgiveness. Even better, you will find the humble heart of Jesus who “humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (verse 8). When our sins came crashing into Jesus, he absorbed the pain and forgave us. Thank God for his immense mercy! Thank God for his amazing grace! And may the grace we have received now be given to others in Jesus’ name.