If our choices for our behavior are going to be based on someone else’s choices before us, we allow a negative cycle of behaviors to perpetuate itself and lose track of where it originated. As long as we blame or hold the other person responsible for the problem, we lose the power to be able to change it.
Jesus talked a lot about one-way thinking and one-way behavior: “Love your enemies, be kind to those who despitefully use you.” — Luke 6:27-28
His description of the prodigal son’s father describes a response that does not match the son’s treatment of his father. His prayer to the Father at the cross to forgive those who were brutalizing Him does not seem to match the retaliatory, vengeance-based response portrayed in most action movies.
It is not easy, but it is right. We will not have a lot of support in our culture to do the right thing in our relationships in spite of the other person’s behavior. We can enjoy the same kind of clear conscience that Paul describes he had because he knew he had done his part (Acts 24:16).