Lord, why is this happening? I couldn’t believe it. I’d crossed the Atlantic Ocean only to be stuck in a car with someone extolling the brilliance and virtues of my worst enemy an ocean away. My companion’s words obliterated the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding Alps.
Unsafe and mean people live, work, and worship with us. We think if only we can get away from them and all the reminders of them then we’d have peace. My experience in Switzerland reminded me peace doesn’t come from how far away we run from our enemies but from how close we cling to God.
David, who knew something about being maligned and hunted down, offers some liberating counsel on dealing with mean people who wrong us. On different occasions, his king and even his beloved son Absalom tried to kill him. Here are some highlights from David’s hard-earned wisdom.
Do not fret. Do not fret. Do not fret.
Obviously, the Lord knows our tendency to fret. Look at these verses.
1“Do not fret because of evildoers…
2For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb…
7Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing” (Psalm 37:1, 2, 7-8, NASB, emphasis added).
Watching the news can stir me up. I fuss when I can’t find what I want because someone I love forgot to put it back. How much more tempting it is to fume when mean people intentionally wrong us.
Our Father understands. But He knows fretting is the root of our emotional anguish. Brooding turns us into wrongdoers. Like those who harmed us, we misuse innocent people.
Take the long view. Even though this person’s influence seems like it will never end, they’ll “fade like the green herb.” Don’t trip on a blade of withering grass!
Do good and delight yourself in the Lord.
“5Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday” (Psalm 37:5-6, NASB).
Resting is active not passive. Did you notice the many positive alternatives God offers to fretting?
Clinging to Him empowers us to release our fuming and overcome evil with good. I need not worry that He’ll be taken in by my enemy’s lies. He will exonerate those who commit their way to Him. With noonday clarity, He will show who is right with Christ and who is the wrong. Who cares what others believe when the ultimate judge knows the truth?
While fretting turns us into evil doers, delighting in the Lord shapes our hearts to be like His. This supernatural change in our desires heartens us. My Father, not mean people, determines my destiny.
My trip to Switzerland reminded me closeness with God protects us more than distance from our enemies. Those who trust in Him are never left victims. In the end, they are the victors!
Are you delighting in Him or stewing over them? Our Father, not perfect circumstances, offers us genuine peace.
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Debbie W. Wilson
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