Answering your questions based on biblical principles
Dear Goldie & Tek,
I am very hurt. And this is not the first time. I have been rejected, removed from position, cut off, criticized, bad-mouthed on many occasions. I will not describe these in detail. Some of the people who hurt me have apologized and I have accepted their apology. Do you have any advice about how I should treat them now? Work with them again, accept their invitation to attend their functions, renew our old friendships? Unsure
We don’t think there is anyone who has not gone through more or less the same experience as you. We will share with you our own experience.
DEAL WITH ONESELF
First of all we deal with our own emotions, thoughts and actions because the bible warns us not to allow bitterness to take root in our heart: “see that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15 We release forgiveness to them because forgiveness stops the poison of anger, hurt and self-pity from remaining in our system.
We also ask God to forgive us for our evil thoughts of revenge, hate, self- righteousness, etc. Peace is thus restored in our feelings, mind and spirit. This is most important because we no longer suffer – we cannot control what they have done but we can control our reaction. In the natural we cannot do it as it seems so unfair that we the victim needs to forgive our perpetrator and ask for forgiveness ourself. So we can do it only with supernatural help from God. It’s amazing how powerful forgiveness and confession are to set us free from our human limitations. We advise you to get a prayer partner as we did, to help you in these two processes. This helps to strengthen your intention by an outward action.
Of course all the myriad questions of why, how, who is right or wrong, cause, implications, consequences, etc will be played over repeatedly in your mind and discussed with others. It may take a long time to go through this painful phase so use the spiritual weapon of Jesus’ Name to cut off the memories, incident, words exchanged, place where it happened, etc. This results in quickly stopping these things from churning over and over in your memory. The Name of Jesus is a divine weapon which promises to demolish those resentful, recurring unwholesome thoughts. Also the releasing of forgiveness and confession to God may need to be done repeatedly to maintain your freedom. By doing all this you can be sure healing will start and will be felt quickly.
BLESSED IN SUFFERING
We have been much helped by what the Apostle Paul said about how to respond to unjust treatment in 1 Peter 3:14. He said “even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed”. Blessed in suffering? How strange! And yet it is very true. When we look back at the times we were unjustly treated we find those were the time we were closest to God. We needed His help, comfort, wisdom and guidance so much so that we were seeking Him daily without fail. We were truly blessed by the precious lessons we learnt during those times.
Another blessing is when we needed guidance, God spoke clearly just at the right time, giving us specific direction. This happened when we were removed from position and we thought we needed to fight and oppose the decision. It so happened that at that time we were attending a BBQ party and everyone was given randomly a bible verse in a rolled piece of paper to take home. When we read ours it said words to the effect of: “do not go back….leave the past behind….there’s a better future for you ….” We knew God had spoken, so we did not go back to argue our case. On looking back now we see indeed there was a better future for us, waiting for us to let go the old position (which we never would have done normally), to enjoy the new things God led us to. How blessed we were that God orchestrated these events which we could not have planned ourselves.
ANSWER FOR YOUR ACTION
Another response to unjust treatment Paul advised is, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” 1 Pet.3:15 . Several years after the above incident we were invited to their function. We debated and prayed whether we should attend. Eventually we did and even prayed a prayer of blessing on them. The reason for our decision was again the specific direction of God. At that time we were reading Acts where it recorded the disciples in Jerusalem were scattered because of persecution and as they fled, they preached the gospel wherever they went. We felt God say that no matter why we were scattered, they were still preaching the gospel and that is something to be glad about. So we decided to go to their function and bless their ministry. People were surprised to see us there so we are glad we were able to give an answer to those who asked why we did it.
Paul further advised, “Keep a good conscience” 1 Pet. 3:16. No matter how wrong people think we are, if our conscience is clear before God we need not worry about criticisms. All that matters is we can live with ourselves and before God.
As for those who have hurt us, apologized and shown genuine regret for what happened, we have become close friends again. We work together, we attend each other’s functions and enjoy each other’s fellowship. But there are some we are still cautious of getting close and we may not work together with them as yet. But we are still friends and there is no animosity against them.
In summary, the way to respond to unjust treatment is to clear yourself of wrong emotions, thoughts and actions with God’s help. Be thankful God is teaching you precious lessons through the events. Then depending on your readiness and the other party’s behavior, distance yourself or resume where you left off. Goldie & Tek
Goldie & Tek welcome your questions. Letters may not be published but all will be answered.