First confession of 2014…I think too highly of myself, my opinions, my feelings, and my rights. I get incredibly hung up allowing forgiveness to take place in my heart when I have been wronged. I want revenge and I want it now. People must pay for how they hurt others. People should be made to pay for their poor behavior and I am just the person to collect the payment! Right?
The truth is, when I chose to follow Jesus, I said I would lay aside my rights to revenge, retaliation, and justice for my hurts and offenses. I gave God the permission to be my vindicator and said I would trust Him to do what He thought was best. Sometimes, I jump in and try to help Him do what He thinks is best and that is a recipe for disaster. My ways are not His ways. My thoughts are not His thoughts. I am a human in need of a Savior and a Vindicator, but I cannot be those things for myself.
So, what do I do? How do I let go of the hurt? How do I forgive those who have missed my awesomeness and treated me so unjustly? Paul has some good thoughts on this in his letter to the Romans.
1. DO NOT THINK OF YOURSELF MORE HIGHLY THAN YOU OUGHT TO THINK
I think part of the problem is, I think too highly of myself. Paul warns us against this in Romans 12. We are children of God and we are precious to Him, but everyone else does not need to treat us with the same regard. It would be an amazing reflection of God’s love if that happened all the time, but it isn’t reasonable to expect that from everyone. We cannot demand of others to be treated in a certain way and then behave poorly when they don’t. Jesus was here on earth and He was mistreated. Guess what? We might get mistreated as well. Don’t let it surprise you or catch you off guard.
2. THINK WITH SOBER JUDGEMENT EACH ACCORDING TO THE MEASURE OF FAITH GOD HAS ASSIGNED
When I have been hurt, I have an incredible impulse to inflict pain in return. I want to lash out with my words and do damage to my offender. Unfortunately, I have been too good at this in the past and have used my words in very ungodly ways. It makes me sad. I’ve had to go back a make apologies for failing to be an example of God’s love. I’ve had to repent for allowing my tongue to be a weapon of destruction rather than a tool of construction to the glory of God. How would those moments have been different if I had used sober judgement? How would those moments have been different if I had tapped into the measure of faith God assigned to me?
3. YOU HAVE GIFTS…USE THEM…TO MAKE GOD FAMOUS
God has given me talents and giftings. He wants me to use them to make Him famous. When I have been hurt, I want to use my gifts to get revenge. I often get into trouble when I am use my gifts this way. Sometimes, the best way to let God stay in control of getting revenge for you is to put your focus into using your gifts to make Him famous. That’s all I have to say about that.
The main idea is, as Christ-followers, we said we would turn over our rights to revenge. We either do it or we don’t.
Until another confession…