A couple days ago I got an email from an old friend. There were a lot of painful and hurtful things in it, a lot of assumptions about me based on gossip they’d heard, or people they’ve talked to.
It stung. It more than stung. I wept. I wept and wept and wept because I realized they were completely set on finding all the bad in me and pointing it out, just to prove a point.
And I realized that I could:
a) Write back and pick them apart the way they had done to me.
b) Write back and defend myself.
c) Go tell everyone about this person and how unfairly I had been treated.
or d) Forgive and pray for them.
I am SO thankful that I’ve been reading “The Bait of Satan” by John Bevere, or I probably would’ve chosen the first three options and left the last one out. Fortunately for me, God had already known that this was going to happen, and led me to this book on forgiveness just two days prior to this situation.
If you haven’t read it, GO GET THAT BOOK AND READ IT! It is amazing!!! It gives biblical examples of people who had been seriously wronged like Joseph, or David (looking at their trials make mine seem rather pathetic) but it points out how we need to forgive and forgive and FORGIVE. Even those who seemingly ruin our lives (like Joseph’s brothers) or who hate us and seem to be out to get us (like King Saul) or those who will never say sorry.
One of my favorite quotes in the book says: “Absolutely No man, women, child or devil can ever get you out of the will of God. There is only one person who can do this and that is YOU! If you lay hold of this truth, it will set you free.”
People can do a lot to us. They can abuse us, hurt us, they can wrongfully judge us, they can turn others against us, they can lie to us and about us…but you know what? They can’t get us out of God’s will for our lives. They just can’t! However, if we become enslaved to bitterness and offense against them WE can ruin God’s perfect will for our lives.
Take David for example. If he had become bitter at King Saul, a crazy, demonic man driven to kill him although he had done nothing wrong, he would’ve killed him the first chance he got! He could’ve EASILY justified it too, saying that God delivered Saul into his hands. He could’ve told himself that he was avenging all the innocent priests Saul had murdered. But you know what? He didn’t. He refused to lift his hand against God’s anointed leader! I believe this is one of the reasons that God chose David to be king.
How did he do this? He realized the one simple truth that is so easy to forget: God is a good Father. It is his place to avenge and his alone.
It is not our job to carry out justice against those who have wronged us, it’s God’s. David trusted that God would make things right, even though it was YEARS before God carried out his judgement against King Saul. And in the end, David could’ve cheered that his moment had come!
But he didn’t. He mourned for King Saul as one would mourn for a Father, he showed kindness to his grandson and let him eat at his table like one of his sons. Now THAT is a heart free from offence.
This is who I want to be.
Jesus, when faced with horrible accusations which were totally untrue, stayed silent. He didn’t defend himself EVER. Not a word. Why?
Because he knew who he was!
When we recognize who we are in Christ, we don’t need to defend who we are. We don’t need to fight for our rights. We don’t need to respond to those who accuse us because the devil, who loves to accuse, actually feeds on this.
We can boldly say ‘God I know these words are not from you. Your words bring life! These words speak death.’ The difference? John Bevere put it so perfectly:
“When the Spirit of God show us our sins, He always does it in such a way that it seems separate from us. This brings conviction, not condemnation.”
Oh brother or sister, have you been hurt? I bleed with you! Have you been wounded by those dearest to you? I understand. Yet let us not fall into the trap of satan. Let us not listen to his condemning words against us nor his words that encourage us to feel victimized! Instead let us be like those who have gone before us and forgive. Like Joseph who said, “It was not you, but God who sent me here ahead of you!” Let us believe that He is great enough to work through our suffering! He loves us FAR too much to let us go through our painful trials for nothing.
He is a good, good Father.