How should we respond when we’re falsely accused or mistreated? How should we respond to the ordinary, every day hurts that come from living life with other sinners? How can we fight back without sinning?
2 Chronicles 17 & 18
Mistreated? Fight Back!
Falsely Accused & Praising God
What a great story! Here are Paul and Silas in pain, mistreated, falsely accused and still praising God!
And as they did, God opened the prison doors with an earthquake. Fearing his prisoners had escaped the jailer prepared to commit suicide, but Paul and Silas cried out to stop him! Romans 2.4 says that it is the goodness of God which leads men to repentance. The goodness of God working through Paul and Silas led the jailer to repentance and he and his whole family were saved!
What If We’re Mistreated or Falsely Accused? How Should We Respond?
We live in a fallen world and there will be times when we suffer. Sometimes we suffer as a result of our own sinful choices and sometimes because of the sins of others. Sometimes we complicate our unfair suffering by our sinful responses.
Other times we suffer because we are doing good and because of the light in us.
1 Peter 3.13-17:
13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
So, how should we respond to suffering or mistreatment? And how should we respond to the ordinary, every day hurts that come from living life with other sinners?
Romans 12 says:
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Someone reading this is probably thinking … seriously! You want me to bless my persecutors! That will only encourage them. They’ll get away with their bad behavior or outright wickedness. They’ll just do it again!
First, no one “gets away with” anything. Unless they come to saving faith in Christ and repent of their actions (even then there will often be consequences), there will be an accounting in this life or the next!
Romans 12 goes on:
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
The New International Version says, “Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone,” and the New Living Translation says, ” Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.”
The idea is to be thoughtful. Don’t just react. Ask yourself what would be pleasing to God and bring Him glory. Let there be no doubt that there is something different about you and that the difference is Christ.
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Granted, some people will not allow us to be at peace with them, but … as much as it relies on us we should seek to be at peace.
19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
We are not to be judge and jury. God is the only one who knows a person’s heart and is able to meet out perfect justice.
We are, however, to fight back.
20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
These are the burning coals of conviction and shame that God applies to a person’s life.
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (NASB).
Doing good, loving biblically, is the most powerful weapon on earth!
We fight with pea shooters like: the silent treatment, withholding our love and affection, gossiping, and other forms of revenge, when God has given us the most powerful weapon on earth.
We are not to let evil overcome us by caving in and acting like the world. We are to overcome it instead!
It goes without saying, there are times when it isn’t appropriate or loving to simply ignore sinful behavior or patterns of living. But even when we must confront someone or respond in some other biblically appropriate way, we shouldn’t do so with an attitude of revenge, but with their ultimate best interest in mind.
Today’s Other Readings:
2 Chronicles 17 & 18:
Tell Us What We Want to Hear
Ahab and Jehoshaphat are about to go out into battle, and Jehoshaphat suggests they seek God’s wisdom. Instead, Ahab calls in 400 of his own counselors. Finally, at Jehoshaphat’s insistence, he sends for the prophet of God. All the pagan prophets had prophesied victory, and Ahab’s servant tells the prophet of God:
“Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Therefore please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement” (18.12).
Basically, just tell us what we want to hear!
How like the world today! “Don’t tell us our lifestyle is wrong! Don’t tell us we’re heading for disaster if we don’t repent! In fact, we want you to, not just accept our choices, we want you to embrace them and say they are just as right as yours!”
As Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun!
God Gave Them Over
11 “But My people would not heed My voice, And Israel would have none of Me. 12 So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels.
As we just read in 2 Chronicles 18 God said, in effect, “Tell them what they want to hear. I’ll use their own false prophets to bring judgment.”
While God as the Righteous Judge will allow us to suffer the consequences of our sin, it is not His desire. Look at the rest of Psalm 81:
13 “Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! 14 I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their adversaries. 15 The haters of the LORD would pretend submission to Him, but their fate would endure forever. 16 He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat; and with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”
A Biblically Informed Conscience
Verse 27, “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart.”
The spirit (small “s”) of man is his conscience. The conscience, when it is biblically informed, is able to help us better understand ourselves, especially in relation to God and convict us when we are going against what’s right.
What About You? Questions to Ponder or Journal:
How do you respond when you’re falsely accused or mistreated? If you were in that jail with Paul and Silas, would your response point to the hope that is within you? Would your accusers see the goodness of God working through you? Friends, the things we see in the pages of Scripture are not nice little suggestions. These are examples for us to follow.
Tomorrow we’re going to look at one of the greatest prayers in the Bible. Be sure to sign up to get it and future posts in your inbox.
Sufferings, accusations, mistreatment … we don’t like them when they come. Have you ever wondered how those who were persecuted, even martyred for their faith handled it? If you have never read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, I would encourage you to read it. It is one of the best ways for us to keep our sufferings in perspective. You can read my review here.
This book has become a classic of magnificent courage and faith. This unparalleled volume chronicles the tragic yet triumphant stories of men and women who faced torture and martyrdom rather than deny their vision of truth and of God. Beginning with Jesus Christ, this exceptional historical record traces the roots of religious persecution through the sixteenth century. It examines the heroic lives of great men and women such as John Hus, John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Anne Askew, Lady Jane Grey, and Martin Luther. John Foxe also knew persecution. Forced to flee from his native England to Europe during Queen Mary’s severe persecution of those holding Reformed views, he carefully compiled records of martyred Christians. His writings possess a sense of immediacy and insight into suffering that few “objective” church historians can match.
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