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Thursday, March 2, 2023

Hershey smokestacks 3/1/17 (Ester)
The iconic smokestacks of the Hershey Company power plant.
Photo taken by Ester

"A Consideration Of Being Wronged"

Message summary: We’ve all been wronged in various ways and our response to those wrongs is a key expression of our faith.

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"Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?" (1 Corinthians 6:7). “Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done” (2 Timothy 4:14). Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

We read so many stories of senseless violence, although in reality what violence is sensible? Last week we read a story out of South Carolina about a young mother who was killed in a parking lot over some type of altercation. Although the details are unclear it would seem that one or both parties felt wronged.

It's hard being wronged or treated unjustly. The passionate response to these wrongs and injustices can bring about a desire for revenge.

The first text is in regard to lawsuits in the church which Paul taught was wrong and a poor witness to the world. In the bigger picture in matters like this he wrote, "Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?"

Today let us consider the Biblical concept expressed in our second text by Paul that “the Lord will repay” in matters of being wronged or perceived unfairness. I realize that at the root of the issue (for me anyway) is having faith that this is really so, that God really will repay. What can be particularly troubling is when the offender seems not to be dealing with consequences or judgment, but rather appears to be getting by with his or her unjust action.

Paul is writing from his own experience of being wronged. It’s his final letter and he writes: "Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm". This may have been the same Alexander he wrote of in 1 Timothy 1:19,20 who had rejected solid teaching and shipwrecked his faith, and had been "handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme".

Alexander had caused Paul “a great deal of harm". No further detail is offered but we can see that Paul had been very hurt. He goes on to warn Timothy: "You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message".  It would appear, especially if this is the same Alexander mentioned in 1 Timothy, that he was spreading doctrinal error which was bringing confusion and leading people astray and that would have been very grievous to Paul, a stalwart defender of the Faith.

But in spite of this great hurt Paul practiced his own earlier teaching from his letter to the Romans when he acknowledged: "The Lord will repay him for what he has done". It would be great to have the original audio version as read by Paul for this phrase. Did he read it with an angry, spiteful, vengeful tone or with humility in recognition of God’s most certain future judgment on this matter? (I believe it was the latter.)

The third verse from Romans is in a teaching section regarding personal revenge when one is wronged.  We are to “leave room for God’s wrath” and this is actually followed by a direct quote from the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 32:35: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord”. This is not normally the type of passage we would list as a promise but I believe it really is.

We’ve all been wronged in various ways and our response to those wrongs is a key expression of our faith.

Today some of you are personally impacted by the theme of this encouragement. You have been wronged and perhaps you have an intense desire for revenge. I know in my life if certain things happened this would be a real battle for me and applying the concept of “leaving it in the Lord’s hands” might be a great time of testing for me.

But I also know that God wants me to trust Him in this regard as well. He promised that He will never give us more than we can endure. And the key to this endurance is possible only when we cast all our cares on Him and lay our burdens at the feet of our Burden Bearer.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, in our attempt to get even with our offender, we can do irreparable harm not only to our wrongdoer, but most especially to ourselves. Instead of having a spirit of forgiveness we harbor a vengeful heart. Our hearts harden and take on the character of the enemy instead of the Savior who loved us even while we were dead in our transgressions and sins. Our debt of sin He paid, freeing us to break the chains of sin that had long held us bound. Father, You heal the broken-hearted and console the wounded as they seek You in the midst of their affliction, whether it is a fresh wound or an old injury. Our affliction from others is earthbound, but our affection for You is heavenbound where there will be no more heartaches, pain or wrongdoing of any kind. Keep us steadfast and faithful till that appointed time. Amen.

Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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