Sometimes I forget that God made everyone. I forget that people who have wronged me are God’s creation. I forget that God still cares about all of his creation. I forget that God seeks for his creation to find redemption. I forget that that search for redemption extends beyond myself, and the people I get along with. Sometimes I just forget that all people have value.
It’s unfortunately very easy to forget this. It is easy to let our negative thoughts dwell on those who hurt us in some way. It is easy to think horrendous thoughts to that internet stranger who made it their mission to humiliate you. It is easy to wish for retribution on those who seek to slander your name. It’s just easy to respond negatively to negativity. It is easy to hope for karma to enact swift revenge. It’s just really easy to forget.
King David’s interaction with Saul is a really interesting one. Saul is constantly on the hunt to kill David. There are multiple opportunities for David to strike out against Saul and kill him, but he always refrains from doing so. His reasoning is because God placed Saul on the throne, and he is still king. David would not dare act out against God’s handpicked person for kingship even though the Lord had departed from Saul. David refrained from killing Saul not for Saul’s sake, but because he was honoring God.
I think a loose connection can be made for us today with those we interact with. Obviously the average person we struggle dealing with is not a king handpicked by God, but we would do well to remember that they are God’s creation. Sometimes we do not honor a person because of who they are, but because of who their creator is.
When I lash out in my thoughts towards others I find myself lashing out against God’s creation. Now I will still grow angry when they sin. Anger towards sin is a good thing, but there should be other emotions taking place in there. I should never have hopes for revenge. Revenge simply is not in my job description. Revenge between mortals always leads to escalated forms of revenge. God is the one who sets things right.
Let’s take this idea, and put it as an application into a scenario. Let’s say someone has slandered your name. The gut reaction is to not only defend yourself, but to hurl back as much pain as you can. Say every dirty secret you know about the person. Point out all the flaws they have. I once had a guest lecturer in a class tell us a story about his time as a pastor where he was given horrible accusations by some people. The accusations he was given were far worse than anything I could even dream of facing. His gut reaction was to respond, and to do so with force. Not only would he clear his name, but he would make those who gave false testimony embarrassed for considering the idea.
Through his devotional time though he was reminding about how God is the one who brings about justice. God is the one who will fight for us. He put his faith that God would clear his name. So he kept low, and simply waited. Sure enough God let the truth come out in a way that left this man with a huge amount of integrity not just for being proven innocent, but for responding to the false accusations in such a way that kept anymore damage to others to a minimum. Those who harmed this man were still God’s creation. God would be the one to take care of it.
Do I pray for those who hurt me? Do I pray for those I don’t see eye to eye with? Do I pray for those who I just simply cannot seem to get along with? I’m not talking about one of those self-righteous prayers, “Dear Lord, please help so and so to realize what an idiot they are being and to see what a great person I really am.” I’m talking about the kind of prayer that requires an intense amount of humility. “Lord, help me to see where I have wronged others, give me the courage to fix the messes I have made, and fight for the integrity I have. Help me to see others the way you do. Help me to approach all conflict with the desire for restoration rather than retribution or embarrassment.”
I wish I could say I have this all figured out, but the truth is I am really low on the list of people who strive to do what is right in this area. It is a constant issue of focus for me. I pray to get better at it though. In the meantime I felt the need to share this lesson as it has been a lesson God is teaching me. I pray it is a benefit for all who read this.