By Sherry Bradshaw
Special to Inside The Pew
I don’t think you can go through life without at some point feeling wronged or be wronged by someone. I wish it weren’t true. But in the Back 9, I can say from experience, if you have lived long enough, you will unfortunately feel that way at some point. Depending on the wrong, the hurt can be mild or it can be severe and devastating. The only way I have found to truly get to a place of healing and comfort is in “running” to God, not only running there but camping there.
Only God knows the whole picture, the motives of my/your heart and the motives of the other party. He does have the “helicopter” view and He has everyone’s greater good in His heart. One of the main responses to hurt is anger and bitterness. It is only in going to a “loving” God that we can find the nourishing help we need to appropriately deal with the pain.
Even when our children were young, I would see human nature (our sin nature) reveal itself when one would hurt the other one–anger, tears, and, at times, “revenge” would be the quickest course of action they would take. I didn’t have to teach them this…Revenge was the direct, almost instant response. In adults…it can be the same way except maturity has molded revenge into a plan of action that is just more crafted and not as obvious.
Revenge is the last thing that God would want us to take into our own hands. Proverbs 20: 22, “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.” I love this scripture and can honestly say for 100% sure that I have lived and experienced God’s delivery.
Wait is a key word here. Seems simple, but running to God enables you to be delivered from the natural tendency to seek “revenge!” The key is taking a step back, taking a “hard right” and seeking a Holy God! There is much to say in God’s Word about how we should respond when we are wronged.
I love the book of Proverbs. It is full of direction and wisdom in how to live an obedient and prosperous life in Christ. For instance, when you’ve been wronged and you choose to turn around and seek revenge, take a look at what scripture teaches about that choice. Proverbs 26:4, “Do no answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.” Or, with regard to evoking the “wait on the Lord” scripture, look at Proverbs 25:28, “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lack self-control.”
One of the hardest, yet most rewarding, scriptures I have ever chosen to live is Proverbs 25:21, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”
The KEY is seeking the Lord’s approval and rewards and not my/your own selfish desires. God’s way is 100% the best way always. It may not make human sense. I have obeyed at times and trusted that the way I “feel” will change, trusting God with that also. It is amazing, now that I have lived many years that I can truly say that He has and will bring my feelings along!
Sometimes we have to realize obedience to His Word comes before we start to have the “right feelings!” If I had waited to feel like it, it makes me shudder to think where I might be. In fact, I had to learn this lesson through disobedience. Yep…sitting and harboring and “thinking of several ways I could get even or ahead” took me further away from God. It hindered everything about my day and robbed me of the “peace and joy” that Christ desires for us to live.
Revenge, bitterness, and even thoughts of getting even only “tear our city walls down!” Christ created us in His image…He knows what is the very best for us. His desire is for us to lay our hurts at His feet. He promises to bind, heal and, yes, even take care of the “wounders!”
Sherry Bradshaw is author of “The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life” and founder of Back 9 Ministries. Bradshaw, a native of Columbia, S.C., is a former first runner-up in the Miss America pageant. She speaks at corporate events, schools, churches, and community organization events.