Sometimes, we feel beat up by cultural narratives that oppose our faith. Our beliefs are under attack. We become weary and tired of fighting! This isn’t new, but it is exhausting. However, it probably will not stop. Culture that opposes and influences biblical doctrine was a problem in the early church. The Apostle Paul dealt […]
It happens to all of us. Someone treats us unfairly. It hurts. We don’t like it and want to retaliate. But how we respond to unfair treatment matters. It reveals our heart. And we may not like what we see.
Thanks to a recent event, I got to test myself in this area once again. Something unfair happened. There was no apology and no indication that the offense would be acknowledged. Actually, there was a lot of blame-no taking responsibility for the way I was treated. And confronting the offense was not a safe thing to do. So what do I do?
Honestly, my instinct was to retaliate. I could have laid that person flat with just my tongue. But I know that is not OK. While that would be a culturally accepted response, it’s not acceptable when you are a person of faith. As a follower of Christ, there is a clear path to dealing with offense and injustice that doesn’t make sense to the unredeemed person. So here we go:
Acknowledge the hurt and anger you feel. I was hurt that someone willingly chose not to do the right thing and would not stand up for his conviction of what was right. The more I think about the situation, the angrier I become. So thinking about the offense over and over does not help. Yes, I was hurt and angry. I lament the injustice, but now I need to deal properly with that feeling.
Deal with the anger. I know, life isn’t fair. People do not always act the way they are supposed to; and people do not always do what is right. Intellectually, I understand why this happens. But my feelings need to catch up with my head.
The Bible is clear that we can be angry but not sin. Scriptural guidelines tell me not to give full vent to my anger (Proverbs 29:11), not to seek revenge (Romans 12:19), to forgive (Matthew 6:14), not to stay angry (Colossians 3:8), give the anger to God (1 Peter 5:7) and not take offense (Proverbs 12:16). Behind all the anger is hurt.
Choose to forgive the person and refuse to hang on to the offense. This is an act of obedience to God. As I release the person with forgiveness, I ask God to heal the hurt I feel. I meditate on 1 Peter 2:22-23—Jesus left his case in the hands of God. That is a good place to leave the offense—in the hands of God.
Release the person from my judgment. God sees what he did and will deal with him. I do not have to be the Holy Spirit for that person. God already is! My job is to pray for the offender and continue to allow God to heal my heart when the hurt surfaces. The process of letting go isn’t easy when the offense impacts your life in a major way. But, asking God to help and refusing to hang on to unforgiveness will result in healing.
The way you react to unfair treatment is what you control. It reveals a lot about you. Do you believe God is sovereign, is the judge of all and will one day deal with every unfair deed? I know, that is a long time to wait, but He is God and we are not. His timing is always right. And He accomplishes His purpose through other people. His promise is to one day take care of all injustice.
Consider the verse in Ecclesiastes 8:11, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.”Are you set to take matters in your own hands or trust God?
Christ left us His example (1 Peter 2:23)-“When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” We serve a just God even when we don’t always understand how He works. Our response to unfair treatment matters. What is yours?
Is there an offense or injustice you are hanging on to that you need to release today?