Thursday, 16 October 2008
Lately I've been thinking a lot about God's promises to me...specifically how He promises to be my vindicator and also promises to be a God of mercy. I got the vindication part down early--God will set right any wrongs because He is a God of justice--so I don't necessarily need or should do any thing in the natural. But the whole mercy thing has puzzled me. If God is indeed merciful, then how can He vindicate me? What if the people who have wronged me never get "dealt with", then how am I vindicated? If I am supposed to show mercy to others, how can I protect myself from people who mean me harm?
These questions plagued me every time something bad happened to me and so in turn it was hard for me to decide to forgive people and also hard for me to turn situations over to God to let Him handle it. This is something that I still struggle with, so for anyone who happens to read, please pray for me as I pray for myself to release this stumbling block from my life. I am learning in my therapy sessions that I have a distorted view of myself and also I am very hard on myself when I make mistakes; in turn, I tend to be hard on others.
Anyway, I don't know if I had a divine revelation about this or what but I think I understand now. First, God does not do things the way I want Him to do it all the time. Therefore, my idea of vindication may not, (ok, does not) line up with what His plan is. In this light, it is indeed true that God can be both my vindicator and be merciful. Vindication doesn't necessarily mean He's going to strike everybody down as soon as they screw up. My "enemies" may never be "dealt with" in my lifetime but God can vindicate me simply by allowing what they intended for harm to work out for my good. In light of this new found understanding, my prayers and my thought process are changing for the better.
Does this mean that I am to let people mistreat me? No, I don't believe that it does. Merciful doesn't mean naive or gullible. But it will change the way I handle these things--to walk in love rather than anger. Don't get me wrong, I know this isn't going to happen overnight, but I'm glad that now I'm in a place to acknowledge my weaknesses and not condemn myself in the process. I am more confident than ever that God has started a good work in me and is faithful to complete it.
Have you ever shown mercy, only to get mistreated?