Response: "Because that's what they/she/he did to me."
Have you ever heard (or been part of) such an exchange? I know how it is. Even between my children it's funny to see one not clean up because he feels that his sibling got away without cleaning up or helping out at home. Recently, I saw a "Respect the next user" sign; the question in my mind was: "Did the previous user respect me?" then this topic hit home.
It may be a difficult pill to swallow but a lot of us are retaliatory in the way we live - consciously or subconsciously. I see that in my life & try to curb it but it's not easy.
Think about it, everyone wants to be treated nicely - with respect. The challenge comes when someone wants to be treated with respect but doesn't care enough to treat others with respect...and the excuse is: "that's how I am." I mean, the fact that your parents didn't raise you with the appropriate ettiquette e.g. teach you how to say "Please" and "Thank you" doesn't mean that you cannot teach yourself to be a better person - you can if you want to.
Luke 6:31 says "Treat others just as you want to be treated." (Contemporary English). Note it doesn't guarantee that the people you treat well will reciprocate but guarantees someone will surely treat you well if you treat others well. It's the basic law of sowing & reaping - which applies to every aspect of our lives. Indeed, everything revolves around that law...
When I look back at my life, I see instances where I've been very well treated because my parents treated others well and I can recount examples where I have treated others well because their parents were good to me. I am aware that some people do not want to be treated nicely...how sad. How can anyone want to be unkind to themselves? The fact is they don't know better so we should help them - no matter how "mean" they may mean to be (pun intended) respond nicely - don't react. I pray that the next time somebody asks you:
"Why did you do that?" your response will be: "Because it's the nice (& right) thing to do."