Thursday, January 10, 2008

when wronged

When we think we've been wronged, or are being wronged, what do we do? Well, of course we ought to pray. This should be our first response. And we need to guard against making haste, or being hasty in spirit, and wanting to resolve an issue quickly. We need to ask the Lord to search our own hearts to find that which needs to be repented of in ourselves.

Of course we need to go to Matthew 18 and follow through according to the words of Jesus. That's in the context of the community of faith. To sidestep that is to cut ourselves off from the grace and truth of our Lord, which can impact a troubling situation for good. Not to say that God can't work when people don't follow this. Only to say it makes matters even more difficult.

Tell another of your problem in generic terms that do not expose the names of the people involved. A godly, knowledgeable friend. They often can help us see what's going on since they're bystanders, trying to look into the complete picture. And we need counselors who lisen well, are encouraging in spirit, but who gently will tell the truth about ourselves, in ways that identify with us. So that one has the sense they are fellow strugglers with us, and there for us, before God.

When wronged in the world, it's our opportunity to live out the gospel. Where we've failed that means openly acknowledging that. And where we've simply been mistreated, that means showing them the spirit of Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life.

Again, let's get back to Scripture, to God's word when we are wronged. Back to Matthew 18. This is for the good of all who are involved, an expression of faith in our God, who has given us this word.

What might you add to these scattered thoughts?


Rachel Mc said...

This post hits home. I have been living this the past two years and it has been a struggle. When someone you love hurts you so deeply that it crushes your soul you can become numb emotionally and spiritually or charge head first into the abyss and find God's strength. I have been blessed because God led me to a church/pastor who have embraced my sons & me and the pastor has allowed me to work thru this very issue by journaling him almost weekly. He doesn't really need to respond, just listen. I started the journaling journey in July 2005 and a curious thing happened; around February 2006 I started to see I was actually working this out with God and my pastor. God was always there but it took me awhile to understand God was guiding my actions and thoughts and reactions to the situation and the person who hurt me.
"When wronged in the world, it's our opportunity to live out the gospel." I'm struggling with that because for now I can't forgive and forget and I just find myself needing to be alone with God and my thoughts and continue to write. (And read blogs!) I think you need to add that you should spread the gospel only when you are emotionally and spiritualy strong enough to do so. If you try to accomplish that too soon your emotions take off and things get said and feelings crushed even more etc. This is even more difficult when the one who wronged you has left God and taken a path of destruction. But I will say this, I am truly amazed and awed at how closely and tightly God has held me through this and God refuses to abandon me. Truly amazed.

Ted M. Gossard said...

First of all my heart goes out to you- and to your sons.

So good to hear of the church and pastor who has come alongside of you. Wonderful. So good to hear that you're working on this in your journaling.

I agree, and so much appreciate the addition you would make. Only over time, could be added. Something to that effect. In our choice we forgive by faith, BUT we have to work through the trauma and effect done in our hearts- so that by and by, with all the hurt and scars, we can do so more from the heart. Something like that.

Miroslav Volf works on this very well. His books: "Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace", and "Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation", and "The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World"- are all outstanding.

I'd recommend "Free of Charge" because it's written on a clear level for all of us, and excellent material. The other two work through scholarly stuff, but both outstanding and breathtaking- but somewhat more challenging, or at least, one has to work through stuff in reading them that may not be all that interesting. But worth it to get to some quite wonderful material. But the first one listed is the best, probably, in helping a person work through a crisis such as you have experienced and are working through. Volf himself worked through this firsthand as a Croatian in the Serbian-Croatian conflict.

(sorry about not linking books, as I just thought of a way I might be able to do this by the computer downstairs from this laptop via email, but Deb and I have to run off soon)

I'm not saying read this book and get over it. No. This reading could just help you in working through the process, which I would think in a true sense would be lifelong.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Free of Charge, Exclusion and Embrace, and The End of Memory by Mirolslav Volf.

Also Sacred Sorrow: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament, by Michael Card- is a good one to read. And I like his CD music album: The Hidden Face of God.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Correct link for Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace.

Betsy Lin said...

Hmm... when we have been wronged, it almost changes us from within. To find strength to forgive in a sense is claiming the grace that God offers to us. To forgive, not because of who we are, but because of who God is, and the great God that he is. To forgive those who have wronged us, is believing, and living in the truth that you have been forgiven. Often I feel we struggle to forgive others, because we fail to believe that we are truly forgiven.
My father has hurt me in such a way that it has alienated me from my family- and has changed me forever. I forgive him, but God has granted me the wisdom to know that even though I have forgiven him, distance from him is safe, and to be near him would be damaging to me spiritually and emotionally. Sometimes we have to know that because we forgive, does not mean we forget, but rather allow ourselves to live in the pain, to embrace it, so that God can revive us, and we trust Him to change us...not the circumstance. And because we forgive, does not mean we throw ourself back into the same field we nearly died in. Sometimes, forgiving, is trusting God enough to walk away and find healing in Him. And His time, will bring restoration.

Anonymous said...

ah...i see! faith not based on feelings and emotions. trust in God because His knowledge, understanding, and power is greater than ours. easier said than done, but, i suppose must be done for our good and the good of others and God. easy to say the words and have a small understanding of the need, and i know it can not be done without God's power. not an easy process. thank God that we are not alone in this.

Allan R. Bevere said...


My friend, you have to quit me hitting me where I live. You are so right, and yet, I must confess, I wish you weren't.

Thanks for making me extremely uncomfortable.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Betsy Lin,
Thanks for sharing words of wisdom to us, important words. We try to stand with you in that pain, but are thankful for the wisdom God has taught you from it, and for us all. I so wholeheartedly agree, though can't do so from the depths of experience in which you've walked and now live. May God's heart and hand continue to impact you, and others through you.

Ted M. Gossard said...

So true. To learn more and more to depend on God and receive God's help from others, a lesson we keep right on learning and growing in in our living, to the end, surely. Thanks for sharing that.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Me too, brother. Me too.