Earlier this morning I sent a few sisters a Scripture from the Holman Christian Standard Bible:
Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing makes them stumble. (Psalms 119:165)
Later on, I decided to read from this devotional I’ve had for years, but never finished, and just started reading again a few days ago. And wouldn’t you know, Psalms 119:165 is today’s verse, but in the King James Version:
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psalms 119:165 KJV)
The author of the devotional writes about how much better we take it if a friend or stranger criticizes us, but if our husbands mention any slight imperfection, or wound us, or try to iron-sharpen-iron us we get very hurt and offended. Then she says this profound little nugget of truth:
We who have been forgiven by a holy God have no right to be offended. The only “right” we have is to share the grace God has given us with others. Where grace enters, peace abounds.-To Love And To Cherish
I thought that was a great application for us to give grace to our husbands, but also to anyone who offends us. I didn’t contemplate that when we are offended, it’s actually our pride.
“How dare you. Who do you think you are?” More like, “Who do I think I am?”
I’ve been guilty of getting offended, but I never stopped and considered, “I’m upset not just because of her words, but because of my own pride.”
As Christians, we don’t have a right to be offended.
Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 HCSB)
Jesus commands us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. Nowhere does Jesus give us a concession to be bitter against another soul. In fact, if we hate someone, we are called murderers, and as the Apostle John wrote, no murderer has eternal life in his heart.
I read a book called Murder By Family, a true story of how the oldest son of a family plotted their murder. Both the mother and younger brother lost their lives, but the father (and obviously the oldest brother) lived. The father said as he was laying on the hospital bed, the Holy Spirit told him to forgive the murderer and he did. His son wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger, but he helped the killer (his college friend), get into the home and both were put on death row. The father had every right to be hurt and upset, but he wasn’t allowed to commit murder in his heart against his wife and son’s killers. Yahweh dealt with both of them, and it wasn’t the father’s job or place to render vengeance.
I know vengeance is an extremely popular theme in films nowadays, but Christ doesn’t condone His children avenging themselves. He is our Avenger. All those who have rejected Him and practice evil will be judged. No one is getting away with anything—unless they have accepted Yahweh’s plan of forgiveness and surrendered to Christ.
Let’s not forget that at one point, we also were enemies of Christ:
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! (Ephesians 2:1-5 HCSB)
So just as we didn’t deserve Yahweh’s grace, yet He granted it to us anyway, we must likewise give grace to our enemies and those who offend us.
Why do you think Christ said, “If anyone wants to follow Me he must pick up his cross, deny Himself and follow Me.” We as Christians deny our old ways of operating; we crucify them and walk in the new way of life, the way Christ commands us to. Out of love for Him, we obey His words. He alone is worthy of anything good, and deserves our complete devotion for all that He willingly suffered and gave up so that we can be forgiven, freed, redeemed and saved.
Let go, love, and let Christ be your Avenger.