Allowing God to handle the injustices in our lives is not passivity. On the contrary, it requires a great deal of exertion. I have found that human beings do not wield the sword of “righteous indignation” well. In most cases, they end up wounding themselves and others unnecessarily. Anger, no matter how righteous, is not managed well by sinful beings. It often implodes. It destroys a person from the inside out, both physically and spiritually. Anger and the subsequent stress destroy the body and morph into bitterness, aggression, arrogance and brooding contempt.
This passage was included in my morning reading today:
But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.~Psalm 10
I decided a long time ago, when one of our children was the victim of grievous sin, that I had to forgive and give my hurts to God. Also, I found that brandishing mercy and unconditional love is quite a bit harder than exercising anger. It is difficult to show forgiveness toward the unlovable in a selfish way. Evening the score is gratifying to the flesh. Bestowing mercy is not. It requires a keen understanding of the degree of mercy we all have already received… without asking for it:
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ~Romans 5:6-8
We are to be like Him, and humble ourselves (Phil 2). We have a strange notion (rooted in selfishness and pride) that we are not required to grant forgiveness until it is deserved…or at least until the other person offers an apology and shows “enough” remorse. This is wrong. If this were the nature of forgiveness, where would we be? Still hopelessly lost. We are quick to say that salvation is not by works, and yet we contradict ourselves when we demand our pound of flesh as satisfaction before we will extend a forgiving hand to an offender. I have written before about the fallacy of “closure” in modern psychology. It simply does not jive with scripture.
In the case I alluded to, I have chosen to love that individual who sinned against our child. There was never an apology. There was no remorse, although there was an admission of guilt. I do not know what is happening in that person’s life today, but I pray there has been victory. I pray the Hound of Heaven will continue to pursue that individual until there is rest. He can do that more steadfastly and lovingly than I can.
I know now that until I first release the matter into His hands, I cannot move forward. There may be more that is required of me in the situation, but until I make it over this hurdle, restoration cannot be accomplished. This is my responsibility. Please note that I did not say it is easy; but it is right, and very freeing. It is not a natural response. We are not naturally wired to “turn the other cheek”…our reflex is to raise our hand and retaliate. No, this is entirely supernatural.