"FINALLY, brothers, whatever IS TRUE, whatever IS HONORABLE, whatever IS JUST, whatever is pure, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is commendable, if there is ANY excellence, if there is anything WORTHY of praise, think about these things. What you have LEARNED and RECEIVED and HEARD and SEEN in Me—practice these things, and the GOD OF PEACE will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9)
Sometimes, we are sinned against in such a way that takes our breath away. Attacked, taken advantage of, stolen from, made fun of, lied to, wrongly accused... It's times when something like that happens to me or to someone I love that I can find nothing good in all the world to think about. Then I have to remind myself--usually out loud--that there is always JESUS.
Whatever else is honorable, just, pure, and lovely that I can't see on these darkest of days, it does not compare to the fact that the Son of God loves me, and He died for me. A few minutes dwelling on that fact, and suddenly, the world that I hate so much, that world and all the people in it who hate me right back, that world God loved so much He sent His one and only Son, doesn't seem so bad anymore. Don't get me wrong: it still seems bad enough to steal a night or two of sleep from me, but not bad enough to steal any more than that.
Repeat after me: "Yes, I am getting the shaft, AND..." Fill in the blank with whatever is honorable and just, accepting the fact that it's probably not the people around you. Start by adding, "Jesus loves me." The hard thing is knowing that sometimes, that's honestly all we have to fill in that blank. The best thing is knowing that all the time, that is all we honestly need.
Don't give up. Not ever. The letter of the man's law may be on the side of those whose sole purpose in life is to make a quick buck, that is generally what man's law was made for, but the spirit of God's law is on the side of those who are treated poorly. As a Christian, when Jesus commands us to turn the other cheek, this is what He means (Matthew 5). Why are we told to do such a thing, you ask? Well, what better witness is there to the necessity of a Savior than blatant injustice? Injustice that is screaming to be made right. Injustice that was made right: a right that will be realized on the Last Day. I, for one, cannot wait, although I fear there are some who are wanting vindication from me as well. For that, I beg for forgiveness, from them and from God, hoping that I am being prayed for in my wrong and not hated for it.
"You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE and a tooth for a tooth.’ BUT I say to you, Do not RESIST the one who is EVIL. But if anyone SLAPS you on the right cheek, TURN to him the other also. [...] You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall LOVE your neighbor and HATE your enemy.’ But I say to you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES AND PRAY for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:38-39)
Easier said than done, LORD. An eye for an eye feels so much better, so much more right, to me than turning the other cheek. But the eye I would receive in return for my deeds would surely be the end of me, and so I will try to both say and do as you command. That is, after all, all that I can do. You knew that going in, dear LORD, or You wouldn't have bothered to redeem me. And I must be capable of some sort of kindness in the face of evil, albeit an imperfect one. If I wasn't, I would not be able to carry the title of "Redeemed."
Suggested verse to repeat when having a severe case of the dwells is Philippians 4:13
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
“I can do all things -------> 5 count inhale
through Him who strengthens me.” -------> 5 count exhale