1 Corinthians 13:5b
How do you deal with people who hurt you? Do you talk to them about it or do you keep quiet but hold a grudge against them? Do you think of ways to get back at them?
God is clear about how we should act when someone hurts us. We don’t keep rehashing what happened. We don’t wish that person harm. Instead, we put away the bitterness, anger and unforgiveness. We give them to God. We let go of the negative thoughts and ill feelings. We ask God to help us to forgive the person and then move on.
Of course, this is easier said than done. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to help us. It is not in our nature to show love when we are hurting. We prefer to lick our wounds and have a pity party. We feel better when we imagine how that person would feel if we were to do the same thing to him or her. How does this make us any different from those who are not of the faith? How could we say that we belong to Christ or that we are God’s children if we can’t find it in our hearts to forgive the wrongs that has been done to us?
What if Joseph had spent all of his time hating Potiphar’s wife for what she had done to him? Would God have prospered him, promoting him to be in charge of the jail or becoming second only to Pharaoh? What about Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego? Did they harbor any bitterness toward King Nebuchadnezzar for throwing them into the fiery furnace?
Instead of thinking evil, in love we pray for those who have wronged us. We pray that God will touch their hearts. Jesus prayed for His enemies when He was hanging on the cross. Stephen prayed for the men who were stoning him before he died.
The next time someone hurts you, what will you do? Perhaps like Joseph you ask this question, “am I in the place of God?” While Joseph forgave his brothers he left them to God’s mercy. Romans 12:19 says, “Never take vengeance into your own hands, my dear friends: stand back and let God punish if he will. For it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay’” (J.B. Phillips). Don’t take the place of God. God sees and knows all. He will deal with the person who has wronged you as He sees fit. Don’t repay evil with evil.