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Heavenly Payback
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I relish the rich and varied scents of nature – fresh cut flowers, blossoms in the spring, pine trees in the mountains and salt air at the coast. But there’s one smell in nature that sickens me, and that is the odor of skunk on a warm summer night. I’m sure you’re with me on this one!

The University of Minnesota came up with a novel idea to use this obnoxious odor to their advantage.  Every year the university loses a number of its balsam fir and Scotch pine trees to Christmas tree thieves. Several years ago Christmas tree poachers cut the tops off 18-foot trees that were 20 years old!

So one year, in order to ward off would-be thieves, the grounds people sprayed all the trees with skunk scent! Apparently, the cold Minnesota weather masks the smell but when the trees come in contact with warm indoor air, the acrid odor of skunk fills the room! Even though the university knew they would still lose some trees, they wanted the satisfaction of anticipating the nauseating surprise that was in store for the thieves.

Surprising Love

As amusing as this initially sounds, I have a feeling that if Jesus was around (and He is!) He would probably say something like this: “If your neighbor steals your Christmas tree, throw in a box of ornaments to boot!”

Why do I think this? Because, this is the Jesus that tells us to turn the other cheek when someone slaps you, and offer someone your shirt if they steal your coat! The Lord further says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for the happiness of those who curse you and pray for those who hurt you” (Luke 6:27-29).

Wow! This revolutionary concept is at odds with every fiber of our being. We so want to get back at anyone who wrongs us, don’t we? But God says, Wait; don’t do it! “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone…I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it”, says the Lord” (Romans 12:17-19).

There is something very freeing about this concept once you get the hang of it. When a murderer is set free because of a loophole in our judicial system, or when terrorists remain at large almost five years after 9-11, our blood doesn’t have to boil because of the injustice. We can rest assured that in time, God the ultimate judge who possesses every shred of evidence, will not only judge each person fairly but will also pass out a sentence appropriate to each crime.

In the meantime, the Lord knows we will be much happier if we love our enemies while leaving payback to the Almighty. It’s true, life isn’t always fair.  But God is!

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By Kathy A. Lewis. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the New Living Translation © 1996.

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