Read: 1 Thessalonians 4 – 2 Thessalonians 3
Reflect: All of us can think of a time in life when we were unfairly wronged by someone- maybe they accused you falsely of something, they went after you for personal gain at your expense, or they took what you deserved. Possibly it could have boiled down to the other person was just a mean person and you were in the way. How did you react?
As human beings our first response is often defensive in nature. We may feel hurt or angry as we seek to defend ourselves. We may want to spend a lot of energy and imagination in plotting revenge on the perpetrator. The hurt is intensified when we feel that we didn’t do anything wrong to deserve what they did to us. It may be true that you did not deserve it, but that’s the world that we live in. Mankind is sinful, unkind, all self-serving. And yes, even Christians hurt other people. I don’t think God calls Christians to be doormats that never stand up against wrongdoers. However, He does give us direction for when we are wronged.
1 Thessalonians 5: 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. How much clearer can the Bible be regarding that? Furthermore, II Thessalonians gives us a wonderful terrific promise if we ask, “Okay, then how does justice come?” II Thess. 1: 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.” In other words, doling out judgment is God’s problem, not ours.
Now, all of this sounds good but practically how is God telling us to react? First of all, God wants us to take a step back. As Christians we should not automatically have the revenge mindset. The first thought that comes to mind shouldn’t be, “I’ll get them back”. Instead, we should pray and bring the situation before God. If we did something wrong and are even a tiny part of the problem, then we should try to make it right. The Christian life is a life of trust. If God says that justice is His, then let God do it. He will defend you. God can handle that person 100 times better than you ever could. We must always remember that we don’t see the big picture that God sees. In God’s sovereign plan, He may even have allowed this situation to give you the opportunity to show the love of Jesus in a way that leads that person to God. Trust in God. He will handle it.
Apply: No one goes through life unscathed. We will all get hurt by someone somewhere along the line. But remember, our heavenly Father loves us and will protect us. If someone wrongs you, trust in God for handling the scales of justice. Shine the love of Christ in a dark world. People will see the difference.
Rich Jennings lives in Willow Street with his wife Michelle and two daughters Chloe and Emma. They have been attending Grace Community for two years.