Within the past year I have heard and been a party in an offense. There are four cases in particular on my mind. Three involved a Christian and an unbeliever and the other involved two Christians (my case). In my case I had someone saying very ugly things about me and my family. The Bible says we are to pray blessings on our offender. So I did pray for them. I must admit I didn’t want to bless them. I actually wanted to strangle them to be honest. However, I, and God knows my heart, did not want to offend the Lord. As much as Jesus did for me on the Cross, I didn’t want to drink from the devil’s cup by choosing to be offended. That’s how I looked at the situation and God blessed me with His peace. By handing the situation over to the Lord, He was able to handle it for me and the results was none of my business. It was between that person and God, not me and that person. As long as I was fighting the battle, God couldn’t help either one of us.
The other situations are a little different. These situations involved people close to God and others far away from Him. These situations it is easy to “judge” the others because they are not Christians. Many of us have been offended by gossip and just down right evil doings by unbelievers. It doesn’t have to be about Christianity per say but about anything. The mere fact though that one person is a Christian and the other is not draws another line. The “good two shoes” factor comes into play from the enemy which makes us appear to the unbeliever to be judgmental. Did you know that in Jude 1:9 the Archangel Michael, out of his humility, did not even accuse satan. The bottom line is this, satan is the accuser of men and God is the judge of all. A Christians commandment is to love one another. “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. ” John 15:12….and that commandment is written in red!
Sometimes I think it is easier to pray blessings on an unbelieving foe is in fact easier. There is a fine line there however between self righteousness and sincerity. We have to assess our heart to determine which side of that line we are on. Recently I had someone ask me to pray for a family member who was under attack. It was my understanding this person had backslidden but had come back to God (praise the Lord!) but the enemy was using others to attack them, spreading nasty rumors, etc. When I mentioned we need to pray for their offenders also, someone asked what do we pray for them?
This is just one of many situations I have heard about. The more I write, the more I think of similar instances. When we as Christians go into battle ourselves with others, especially unbelievers, we are leaving God out of the mix. We are taking it upon ourselves to accuse and judge. We too are in direct conflict with God…not a good position for anyone. When we seek to get even, get the last word or give “our” judgment, our offender’s heart will not be changed. The only one that can change a person’s heart, and we know this because ours has been changed, is the Lord. We pray for God to bless them so they can see His goodness to them, even as sinners. We are representatives of Jesus in this world and by inducing our own wrath we fail miserably as His representative. The Lord may be wanting to use YOU in that situation to bring them closer to Him. On judgment day we will all give account. When asked why we didn’t show that person His love, what will we say? When asked why we didn’t allow Him to use us in that situation and now He has lost that person because no one would ever show them His love and forgiveness, even though they did not deserve our forgiveness, what will our answer be? We do not deserve the Lord’s forgiveness but we get it time after time after time. What will our answer be?
What if we do pray for God to touch their heart and they do not respond to His conviction? What if they continue in their gossip? We have done our part, we have tried to represent the Lord, showed them His love but they reject us? What then? We wipe the dust off of our feet and let God be God. We don’t walk in fear of their wrath. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7. We do our part and allow God to do His part. God will either soften their hearts or harden their hearts, depending on the condition of their heart. No matter the case, when our ways pleases the Lord “…we know that all things work together for good to those who love God.” Romans 8:28.
This all goes back to our faith in the finished work of Jesus; our faith in Jesus and His defeat over the enemy. We can’t pick and choose the convenient parts of the Bible. We can’t trust the Lord in some things and try handle the others. We trust Him in all things….we truly represent Him in this dark world. Let us all assess our representation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are our ways pleasing to Him when we are offended by others actions? Who are we representing when offense strikes our lives? – Donna Warren