How do you feel?
In yesterday’s post I touched on the issues we face grappling to believe we are forgiven.
One of the reasons it can be hard to believe we are forgiven by God has a lot to do with the misdeeds of others. Do you ever start to believe God doesn’t love you or has really forgiven you based on someone’s mistreatment?
I have done so many times.
In fact, just last year I cried and cried to God about the way I was treated – at work – and at a church I might add. I blamed God. I asked Him why He allowed it. I cried to God asking Him when would I matter!
Five years ago, I endured one of the most hurtful situations in a parent-led support group. I was so hurt and upset I wanted to call my mom and cry. Let that sink in. A married woman with five children was hurt so badly I wanted to call my mother and cry.
My first leadership position at a church was one year after becoming a Christian and I left that church dejected – and in tears.
Free Will Mistake
Many times, we mistake the free-will of others as the will of God. You see my friend; God does not force you to behave perfectly. He allows your free-will, and He allows the free-will of other people. Although God allows free-will of people to play out in humanity – it does not mean He approves of our poor decisions.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
We can be led by our free-will but it does not mean God agrees with our decisions or the hurt you’ve endured by someone else. And vice versa. When you hurt people God does not approve of that.
God doesn’t want my children hurt when I decide to be impatient with them. God doesn’t want my husband hurt when I decide to get upset with him for forgetting to do something. God doesn’t want any of the students or parents in my organizations to be hurt if I decide to not be kind.
But I get it…We are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ and when someone hurts us, we believe it’s a reflection of God. When people in authority hurt you, especially those in a Christian setting, we think those people have favor with God therefore, He’s allowing the mistreatment – thus, you make the mistake of believing you don’t matter. You make the mistake of believing you don’t matter to them or God. And then you make the mistake of believing God hasn’t really forgiven you.
What Does the Bible Say?
We can look at the Bible and see how wrong we are;
First, let’s consider Hagar who was mistreated by Sarai so badly she ran away until God showed up to her to remind her that she is loved and valued.
Genesis 16:6-7 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.
How about Joseph who was out looking for his brothers and then finds himself sold as an Egyptian slave and thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit.
Genesis 19:20-21 Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife’s story about how Joseph had treated her. So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained. But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden.
Next, consider the Hebrew people who were enslaved for over 400 years. The Hebrew people knew they were the chosen people of God. I am certain their bondage wasn’t pleasant – but they knew they were chosen people of God and He would free them at His appointed time. God did not agree with the treatment of the Hebrew people.
Exodus 1:11 So they put slave masters over them (the Hebrews) to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.
David was running for his life from King Saul, yet David cried and cried out to God. He knew God heard his cry.
1 Samuel 19:18 When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him.
The apostle Paul (the most prolific writer of The New Testament) was chained to the ground in prison when he wrote most of the Epistles.
2 Timothy 2:9 For which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!
The disciples of Jesus Christ were beheaded, crucified upside down, banished!
Revelations John 1:9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Jesus Christ was tortured and nailed to a cross.
God does not agree with the evil hearts of people and mistreatment we inflict on others, but He allows the free-will of you and me – for a purpose far greater than we can imagine.
Although Jesus Christ knew why He was sent to earth and He knew God’s ultimate plan, Jesus still hurt when people hurt him. He felt every single whip that hit his body! God feels your pain friend, but He does not agree with our evil hearts. Your pain matters to God. You are not unloved by Him because someone does not see how great you are. You are no less forgiven because someone who is hurt themselves, decided to hurt you. You are loved by God regardless of how a mere human-being treats you. You are forgiven by God despite how a mortal man (or woman) makes you feel. You are loved and forgiven by God because you asked Him to love and forgive you.
Friend, can you go out into the world today and smile knowing you are loved by God no matter what? Can you love people and be reminded that your behavior can hurt people too?
Can you allow God to use you despite what you think of yourself?
Can you live as a loved forgiven blessed child of God today!
~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS
Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If not, email me today and I will pray with you.