II Samuel 2:26 Abner called out to Joab: “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their brothers?”
2:27 Joab answered: “As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would have continued the pursuit of their brothers until morning.”
For any cycle to stop, someone has to take the final blow, the last hit. In this story in II Samuel, civil war has broken out in Israel. The men are going to fight to the death. Finally Abner has enough and confronts the obvious: until one of us simply stops, this will never end until we’re all dead.
For a cycle of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred, division to end, someone has to take the last hit. They have to allow the last hit to rest upon them without seeking revenge and continuing it all over again. This is obviously a difficult thing to do.
The past few days the big news story in our town has been about a case of road rage that ended with the cars pulling over, one man getting out and confronting the other driver, and then getting shot in the stomach. This is how unchecked violence will end. We kill our “brothers.” Abner knew this and pleaded for it to stop.
Are you willing to bring healing to our “civil” wars by allowing the last hit to fall upon you? It screams against every natural desire, which is to avenge ourselves for even the slightest slight. If we are courageous and humble enough to do this, we can begin to end the cycles that are destroying our families.
The cross is the final resting place for revenge. That’s why it’s such a violent scene, because all of the violence of revenge comes to a screaming halt upon it. The ‘hits’ end there and the cycle is broken. Christ takes the final blow and does not retaliate. The last hit rests upon His broken and bloodied body. And by taking the final blow, He disarms Satan, who lives off violence and revenge.
This frees us and allows us to take the ‘hit’ from the brother and end the cycle of violence on earth. We do not have to return blow for blow. We can turn the other cheek and walk the second mile – and to make it even more amazing, we can do this with pure intentions: the redemption of our enemy.
I do not have to return the blow. I can become a resting place.