This is the ninth blog in this series on love according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
When someone wrongs us our first reaction is to defend ourselves. We want to fight back. We want to prove we were wronged. We want to make them repay. But the amplified version for this week’s message in 1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love…takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
So does this mean we ignore every wrong done to us? Do we allow people to walk all over us by never standing up for ourselves?
I remember being falsely accused by a co-worker one time. This person spread lies about me to our boss when he was the one doing wrong. I felt intimidated so I found another job and left without saying anything about it. I still to this day regret not standing up and pointing out the truth to my boss.
God doesn’t call us to ignore wrong-doing. Jesus said in Luke 17:3-4, “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” (NKJV)
When someone wrongs us we need to rebuke them. But we need to be careful how we do it. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”
When someone wrongs me, God has taught me to wait until my emotions settle down before I do anything. Sharing the incident with everyone does not settle my emotions. Running it over and over in my head does not settle my emotions. Throwing a pity party does not settle my emotions.
I settle my emotions by giving the offense and offender over to God, and searching for the blessings that I believe God hides for us in every offense, hurt, and trial we experience. As I focus on the good, my attitude begins to change. I start to get excited anticipating how God is going to work it out.
When my emotions are settled I pray for God to speak through me as I confront the person. I may not always know what to say, but when I give God control He gives me the right words, even if it’s not apparent right away. I may think I messed up by saying the wrong thing, but I soon find out that His power was in my words and it was effective.
After I confront them, if they accept it then I need to forgive them. I don’t need to dwell on it or bring it up again.
Proverbs 17:9 says, “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” (NLT)
If they don’t accept the rebuke, and continue to wrong me, then I need to do what Mark 6:11 says, “But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” (NLT)
I had to part ways from a loved one recently. I stood firm on something that I closed my eyes to for many years. God gave me boldness to stand firm against their wrong-doing by not allowing it around my family. They didn’t agree so I had to walk away and give them over to the Lord.
I still love this person and I forgive them, but I don’t have to accept their wrong by allowing them to hurt my family. If we never stand up and call anyone out on their wrong-doing, they will continue thinking they can get away with it.
We don’t forgive others by covering our eyes, we forgive them by telling them the truth in love and praying it opens their eyes to bring repentance. We don’t have to go around rebuking everyone for every little thing they do wrong. But we do need to stand firm and not allow people to walk all over us.
Follow God’s leading next time you are wronged and look for His blessings in it. God has obligated Himself to work our wrongs out for our good. Don’t hold on to an offense, give it to God and watch Him work it out for you!
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Romans 8:28 NLT
Amanda Beth is a wife and mother of four children, and author of an upcoming book titled: YOU CAN HAVE A HAPPY FAMILY Steps to Enjoying Your Marriage and Children. She has been married for 14 years and has experienced transformation in her life and marriage since she surrendered her heart to Christ ten years ago. http://www.amandabeth.net/