I apologize for the delay in the posts. My computer died and I just got it back this past weekend. I should be able to post later this week on
When wronged, which better describes you: A justice seeker or a Grace granter? The answer to this question, though difficult, is important.
Have you ever been lied about? I bet you have. I sure have. Sometimes those lies are little and don’t amount to much. But sometimes the lies can be quite large and really affect you. These lies can be considered defamation of character in many states.
When this happens – and I hope it doesn’t happen to you – what should a Christian’s response be? Should a Christian retain an attorney and sue? Or should a Christian simply let it go on by.
And what should one do about the anger that comes with this? Oh, the anger!
But now, a few Scripture verses are flying through my heart and head…
BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger…Ephesians 4:26 NASB
So I’m angry about this, but am I sinning? Well, lets consider this little gem from James
Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17 NASB
So what is the right thing to do. There is my desire for justice and vindication of an egregious lie. But there is also my impulse to show grace and mercy and walk away from it. Someone once said
But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is thatto you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27 – 36 NASB
When I juxtapose my desire for justice with the verses above, I admit I struggle with what I should do. And I admit I’m not sure which way I’m going to end up going.
I can sue for defamation of character for the big lies that hurt or smear my name. If I do this, I can win and receive a little vindication.
I can also decide to show mercy and compassion, not sue, not win, and not be vindicated by my acts.
I’ve decided to share my journey into this decision with you. For the next few weeks I will write about what I am thinking, what the Lord is showing me and, hopefully, the decision that I make in the end.
So what happens when we are wronged and our desire for justice collides with our impulse to show grace and mercy? I think we’re going to find out soon…and in the process, maybe we can learn something about ourselves and our desires.
I watch the old TV series “Columbo” as much as possible. I really enjoy it. As I am writing this article I’m watching an episode from season three (I have the entire series on DVD). For those who never watched it, it was made in the early 1970’s. It was about this brilliant detective who was less than stellar in his appearance. Even though he often played the fool, he always solved the crime. And every crime on this show was a murder. You see Columbo was a homicide detective. He was great.
When Columbo would come to a murder site, the police would sometimes draw a chalk outline where the body had been after it had been removed. It was a reminder that there once someone there. In one way, it was the shadow of that person.
When we die – and we all will – the life we lived could be marked with a chalk outline showing where we touched. I wonder, when I’m dead, where will my chalk outline be.
I’ve lived a rather full and eventful life. I’ve accomplished much in my 54 years on God’s earth. Some of those accomplishments have been pretty good. Others not so good. And still others have been downright bad. One thing they all have in common is that they were accomplished by me.
As I draw nearer to eternity I wonder what I will leave behind. What will my chalk outline be? Will it be a good one or a bad one? How will my friends remember me? My enemies? My family? My church? How will I be remembered…
I’ve come to one conclusion regarding my legacy. I’ve decided and truly hope that my legacy does not include me.
I really don’t want to be remembered. In fact I hope I’m forgotten rather easily. You see, I don’t think my greatest legacy should be that I am remembered as this or that type of person. My greatest hope is that my legacy will be that more people will remember my Savior and what He does than what I did in His name.
I hope that my life’s work will be pointing others to Christ, not to myself. I hope I live in such a way that I have a legacy that is devoid of my, and full of my Savior. Will I do that? I don’t know. What I do know is that the words of John the Baptist ring in my ears each day as I rise and as I go to bed…
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 NASB
I must – MUST – decrease.
I hope I accomplish this.