The Holiday season often brings unexpected pain. We’re left out of gatherings we used to be a part of, or we have to join ones that include people who’ve wronged us. If this season has stirred some hurtful emotions, I hope this post I’m bringing back will help.
Some people have no conscience. The woman who stole your husband parades around the family reunion showing off your grandchild! The man who stabbed you in the back preaches unity and love to your team. They wronged you. Now they pour acid in your wound and dare you to flinch.
How do we handle such injuries? Some biblical wisdom and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings have helped me.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:14, 17-21, NIV).
When I’m reeling from being wronged, these are not my favorite verses. Who blesses their persecutor? We’re more likely to “Bless them out.”
The last verse provides a powerful reason to heed this wisdom—so we won’t be overcome by evil.
Frodo and the Ringwraiths
In The Lord of the Rings, the daunting task of destroying an evil ring fell upon Frodo the hobbit. The Dark Lord turns his power against Frodo and sends a group of Ringwraiths to attack him and his companions early in his venture. Ringwraiths are “the Enemy’s most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death.”
A Ringwraith pierced Frodo’s shoulder with a poisonous sword. If poison remains in Frodo he will become a Ringwraith. If bitterness remains in the wounded, they become evildoers.If poison remains in Frodo he will become a Ringwraith. If bitterness remains in the wounded, they become evildoers. Click To Tweet
Who hasn’t wrestled with this? When someone wrongs us, it seems only fair that they hurt as much as they hurt us.
The problem—we can’t handle the role of avenger. Only God can wield vengeance and not be destroyed by it.
God’s mandate to forgive is practical. When we overcome evil with good—
- We will be greatly rewarded and show the world that we belong to God ( Luke 6:35).
- We won’t become Ringwraiths who poison others (Hebrews 12:15).
- We’ll become like Christ (Luke 23:34).
While forgiveness protects our hearts, it doesn’t necessarily touch the perpetrator’s heart. The Ringwraiths in Lord of the Rings stayed evil. If Frodo had tried to become their buddies, they would have stabbed him again. The Apostle Paul understood this (2 Timothy 4:14-15).
However, scales fell off the eyes of a good king who’d been deceived by the Dark Lord. Some who injure us will eventually be freed from their darkness. Only God can see who is entrapped by evil and who is evil. That’s another reason why He is the only one who can correctly avenge the wrongs committed against us.
God has promised to bless those who bless us and curse those who curse us. He will repay fairly.
The next time someone pokes your wound, remember—
- Whose child you are
- Frodo and the Ringwraiths
- Christ on the cross forgiving you
Bitterness disfigures its victims and makes them servants of the Dark Lord. Forgiveness transforms us into the image of Christ.Bitterness disfigures its victims. Forgiveness transforms us into the image of Christ. #forgive Click To Tweet
Let’s not let anyone steal our joy. Jesus gives us the power to forgive and move on.
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Debbie W. Wilson
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