Run Retaliate Repress

From Paul Tripp Ministries


Three temptations
in times of suffering
and trouble.

Three battles raging
in the hearts of the

The moral struggle
for your soul
when life makes no sense.

Three seeds that grow
in the toxic soil
of the devil’s lies.


Running from God
when the shock of hardship
crashes in,
when normal things
are unceremoniously interrupted,
when plans are now
broken pieces on life’s pavement,
when comfortable faith
is now challenged by
what is uncomfortable.

Running from God
never leads you anywhere
You run from God
when roots of trust
have been weakened
by weeds of doubt.
No longer believing that
God is good,
you turn away from him as your
helper and look to other

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).


is vertical anger and despair
expressed horizontally.
Anger with God
carries into situations with people
creating impatience and conflict
that was not there before.
is vertical judgment
reaping a harvest of
dark and destructive
horizontal consequences.
is where vertical anger
crushes love of neighbor.

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17-21).


is never a wholesome response
to the weight of trial.
Denying reality is never
a healthy response to
hardship’s pain.
Working to deceive
your own mind
into the belief
that things are not as bad as
they seem
never results in dealing well
with what you find hard to

“In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised” (Romans 4:18-21).

It is impossible
to run from the presence
the rule
the work
of the Lord of Lords.
Harboring anger
with God
in a way that cuts a path of
in your relationships with others
rather than running to God
with your anger,
is never a good choice.
The Bible never calls you to
or resist facing
the devastating realities of life.
In this fallen world,
peace of heart,
productive living,
worship of heart and hands,
never grow out of the soil of

So, in the face of the temptation
to run,
to retaliate,
to repress,
I cry out to you for help.
I do not understand what you bring
into my life.
There are times when trusting you
seems more dangerous than good.
I struggle not to turn the eyes of my
away from things too crushing to

Lord, meet me today.
Bless me
with the power to resist.
Help me to understand
that when comfort’s light goes out
and hardship’s darkness is deep,
I don’t need to be rescued from you.
I need, once again,
by the patience of your love,
by the power of your grace,
to be rescued
from me.

God bless,

Paul David Tripp

Reflection Questions

1. In times of suffering, why might running from God be an easy temptation to succumb to for you? Is running from God the default of your heart when you’re disappointed with your life’s circumstances? If so, take some time to think about your past and pray through why your history might be prescribing your actions in the present. Where has running from God taken you in the past if you’ve done so? Where might running from God lead you when your life is challenged and tough times come around? In the midst of the temptation to run from God, why is it so important to remind yourself that the yoke of Jesus is easy, and his burden light?

2. Why do you think retaliation is really just vertical anger and despair expressed horizontally? Who are the people or what are the circumstances you’ve been tempted to retaliate against as you’ve thought about being hurt, mistreated, abused, or injured? Why might retaliation against those specific people or circumstances be a misdirection of your anger? When the temptation to retaliate is strong in your life, how might Paul’s words in Romans 12:17-21 help you with practical guidance on moving forward in a godly way instead of a retaliatory way? List some examples of godly ways to respond.

3. Why is repression such a dangerous way to respond to life’s suffering, hurt, and disappointment? In your life specifically, how can repression generate an enormous amount of unhealthiness? Why do you think repression is something that will never result in dealing well with what you find hard to accept? Read Romans 4:18-21 again…why is repression a faith killer?

4. In the face of temptation to run, retaliate, and repress, what would it look like for you to reject those reactions and instead cry out to God for help? How might an intentional move toward thankfulness in the midst of hardship change you from the inside out? In realising the truth that (ultimately) you need to be rescued from yourself, how can you specifically cry out to God for help? Take a moment right now and pray for his grace and deliverance in your life.

Run Retaliate Repress

New Hope Presbyterian Church Bridgeton, NJ

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