It has been said that love is doing the most redemptive thing for another. Unfortunately, the most redemptive thing for another is not necessarily the easiest or most enjoyable thing for us. It means sharing in love with a person those blind areas they may have in the hopes that they will recognize their need for healing. It means putting yourself out there with the full realization that it usually goes one of two ways…well or rather disastrously. It means setting aside your own desire for comfort and maintaining the stays quo because, believe me, that would be a lot easier. It means realizing your name may get dragged thru the mud and you will incur the wrath of some who were just looking for a chance to take a free shot. Not a totally welcoming picture, right? Love, true agape, God-fearing love will go there anyway!!
Tim had to do what he, and a number of others, felt was the most redemptive thing for a person last week. He and 3 others sat down with a person they care about and shared some concerns. They didn't do it because they were mad. They didn't do it because things had been going so well that they were looking to stir things up a little. They did it because they knew in their hearts it was the most redemptive thing for this person. It didn't go well. It went rather disastrously actually. It went as expected, but that didn't make the results any easier to deal with when it was all said and done.
A full social media attack was launched at Tim and many lies were presented as truth. As his wife, I wanted to come out with both arms swinging and a sharp tongue ready to set the record straight…but I couldn't. Not because I felt all warm and fuzzy. Not because in and of myself I just have so much restraint and the ability to rise above. Really, the only reason I couldn't respond was because I really do have a healthy fear of God and the consequences for disobeying what He lays out for us in scripture.
There have been a number of times I did what was right ONLY because I feared His consequences. Just as a child must learn to fear parental consequences so they don't put themselves in danger, we must learn to fear His consequences because what He says is ultimately for our protection. I may not like it and I may obey outwardly while inwardly digging in my heels and muttering under my breath, but obeying Him is essential!!
So, instead of taking to social media to answer our accuser, I worked to take my thoughts captive. I worked to remind myself of truth and I tried to keep my focus upward and not outward or inward. I think it shows the Lord's sense of humor that the last time our ladies group met I had facilitated a lesson on forgiveness. As a result of that lesson, all the necessary elements were fresh in my mind and I really did pray blessings on our accuser. My kids and I prayed blessings on our accuser. We got to talk about the fact that hurting people hurt people and God has used it as a valuable teaching tool for our family. And you know what happened? A peace washed over me in the midst of it all. You know that peace that really doesn't make sense. That peace that almost seems surreal because you KNOW it doesn't come from you.
I felt like I could "feel" Zephaniah 3:17 happening in my heart. God was the mighty Warrior fighting my battle and He was rejoicing over me because He hadn't missed my act of worship wrapped up in my gift of obedience. He was cheering me on because He knew it wasn't my first choice. He knew this because He knew I'd been in situations like this before and I had chosen the path of least resistance…revenge. We got to get excited together, God and me, because we were both seeing tangible evidence of my growth and maturation and it felt so good.
"There can be no greater evidence of a renewed heart and mind than a change in the habit and stream of our thoughts." John Owen
Now here's the catch, though. There's going to be more tests. There's going to be many more opportunities for me to deal with a wounded person who wants to wound me and those I love and unless I continue to keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, the outcome will look vastly different. Just because I was able to rise above this time doesn't mean I can let my guard down. Life will be filled with endless opportunities to take my thoughts captive and choose to let Him fight my battles and I must be ready.
So today starts a new week. It's a new opportunity to walk obediently with Him knowing I will never experience anything He hasn't experienced and hasn't made provision for in His word. Once again, He has reminded me to "remember Judas", the one He treated exactly the same as the other disciples even though He knew He would be His betrayer. He's whispered softly that we're going to have a good week. It may have trials. It may have angry accusers. It may include lots of things I wouldn't stand in line for, but He'll be right there cheering me on and fighting my battles in ways better than I could ever conjure up. As my friend, Jackie Kendall, always says…
evidence of His redemptive work in my own life is being a good forgiver.
Lord, thank You that you love me so much that You continue to teach and train me as one of Your children. Thank You that You have given us such a powerful example of what being a good forgiver looks like. Thank you for fighting my battles and cheering me on! Thank You for a loving church Body who surrounded us yesterday and prayed for us and reminded us that we're not in this fight alone. May I choose this week to honor You in ALL things and may I continue to see evidence of Your redemptive work in my life. And lastly, Lord, please comfort my friend who is hurting and let her see her desperate need for divine healing. We want to see her healed and able to walk in freedom with You. Amen!!!