Proverbs 16:32 “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
To watch the news today, you would think the world has gone mad. Wars and rumors of war. Immorality on every level. Violence has risen exponentially. We’ve witnessed horrific crimes that border on the macabre. Children are divorcing their parents. Gender dysphoria – what is that, and how do I get the vaccine against it? Such corruption has ruined businesses, churches, families, and relationships.
We have witnessed the fight for control of governments, cities, philosophies, and ideologies. That fight has spilled into our churches and its root is with hearts deceived by the devil, hardened by sin, or unregenerate.
God tells us:
1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Money in and of itself is not evil, but the love of it is.
For money, men have sold out their very soul to gain that which they cannot take with them into eternity. The great missionary, Jim Elliot, said:
“He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Some seek power. Others seek fame. Most just want to survive.
In its most simple thought, my life is made up of a series of choices. I am where I am today because of the choices I made. We have given rights for those victimized by another to receive justice. But, in righting the wrong, the pendulum has swung far too much in the direction of the abused and does not consider the abuser.
It is easy for us to take up the cause of the victim – and we should. Often, they feel defenseless; their self-esteem is so low that they feel they are somehow deserving of the treatment they receive at the hands of their abuser.
Most abusers are manipulative and controlling. They are insecure, and exercising their power over someone gives them a feeling of superiority.
Often, the abuser has, themselves, been victims of abuse.
I have counseled those who have suffered such horrific abuse at the hands of their abuser that something inside just switched. Their defense mechanism was to do to others what was being done to them. They become that which they hated.
Situations such as these are hard to reconcile because the cure is forgiveness.
We can all agree that what was done looks and feels as if justice must be done. We even are accepting of those victims who take vengeance on their abuser, thinking it is justified. Taking the high road is not easy.
Romans 12:18-19 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
It takes faith to allow God to be the one to deal with the acts and effects of an abuser. To view that one as a soul for whom Christ died gets muddled in our sense of justice. We feel relief at the sentence of those who’ve taken much from their victims when it satisfies what we deem as justice.
Because their sin personally offended us and crossed the line, we no longer desire their soul to be saved but would rather damn them to a Christ-less hell?
If God so loved the world, did He not love those who wickedly mocked, beat, whipped, and crucified His Son? Jesus even said from on the cross:
Luke 23:34 “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
We do not possess the capacity to love as Jesus loved – or do we? Carnally, I do not possess the ability to love as Christ loves. Through Christ, I am told I can do all things – even the hard things.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Ultimately, it comes down to a choice – not CAN I forgive, but, WILL I forgive?
Not everyone has such circumstances, but the choice we make in any situation is just as important. Many feel they are defined by what has happened to the. Others think they are better defined by what it made them become, not by what was done to them.
Please understand. There are passionate and devoted voices for both sides of these issues, and this author desires to take the high road by saying that only God knows best for all circumstances. We need to be sure it is His voice we hear and not that of our anger, our pain, and our wounded heart.
God can heal the wounded heart. He holds us accountable for what we do after we are wounded. He also takes care of the justice needed. We can rally those who feel as we do and seek the truth we so desire.
God patiently awaits the child of God who would come for healing and be used to reach both the abused and the abuser.
Corrie ten Boom was famously known to have forgiven the Nazi guard who executed her sister in the concentration camp where she was held. She, like Jesus, looked beyond the act of injustice, the violence, and her loss. She accredited her ability to Christ and His love.
Shouldn’t we follow their example?