Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Veracity of God’s Defence Alone

People fight for their rights all the time. It’s common to the human nature. If we need evidence of this we’d only have to open our eyes and ears to the News or a current affairs program on the television; we’re swamped with ‘who’s fighting who and who’s paying.’

The biblical way, we know, is the reverse, however. Yet, how many of us practice this in our daily lives? In truth, it challenges us all--right down to the heart, which wants to battle anyone or anything that comes against us. It is the one attacked who fears most and reacts most aggressively--we can’t avoid the instinct to do this. It’s core to our being.

And being attacked is a daily situation we all face, not the least of which, when people or situations attack our egos i.e. that thing that almost no one can see but ourselves.

The following two passages are instructional; the latter a contextual paraphrase of the first[1]:

“‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.’ The LORD will vindicate his people and relent concerning his servants when he sees their strength is gone and no one is left, slave or free”
–Deuteronomy 32:35-36 (TNIV).

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink…’”
–Romans 12:19-20 (TNIV).

This is what it’s about:

What the Lord’s not interested in defending for me he has purposed for me to go through--and in that, without defense from him.[2] There are some things in life we just have to go through, and we can rationalise this as the LORD’s chastising discipline. He’s using the injustice (or the portion of injustice) to mould us into the likeness of his Son--because he loves us. We all have room to grow, whether we’re 9 or 90. Growth is part of our purpose.

So, why do I fall for the 3-card trick occasionally and defend myself if he’s not going to defend me?

Sometimes I forget the instruction of God and I go with my default human nature, attacking as I go, if not in action, certainly within my heart. Sometimes I think he’ll defend me and I’m disappointed in the moment when he doesn’t strike for me; I take things into my own hands. On other occasions, I do have the presence of mind and the patience of heart to wait, absorb and endure.

We need to stay adult[3] and consider the attack… absorbing it and feeling it primarily. Feeling the attack ‘clean’ or in an emotionally clean[4] way is critical to allow God room to operate--if that is his will, remembering that timing and methods, and ultimately choice, are God’s, not ours.

We must simply obey and honour him and leave the judgment of all situations, as far as is possible for us, to him. This is not biblical advice; it’s actually a biblical command.

When all our strength and hope is diminishing and almost gone, God sees. He sees us also attacking others in self-defense as we respond in fear. And he also sees when we obediently resist the urge to strike back as we negate the fear.

He sees injustice and though he is slow to anger; his anger and wrath are sure. We can depend on it.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[1] There is another contextual paraphrase of “It is mine to avenge; I will repay...” in Hebrews 10:26-31.
[2] It is helpful to remember that God is present in all our struggles, as it is written in Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
[3] Being ‘Adult’ means remaining calm to the emotion of the situation, and essentially being: reasonable, responsible, rational, realistic, reliable, and logical in our behaviour.
[4] Primary emotions are wonderful things; they’re the pre-fall emotional condition i.e. they’re the way we were always meant to feel... yet we hide behind secondary emotions of anger, guilt, envy etc or even go onto tertiary emotions; another step further and untruthfully removed. Hiding emotionally is a sign we haven’t had the courage to wait on the pain of the attack and have moved the pain into a maladaptive function i.e. manifesting it in action to assuage the situation. What do we require to feel primary emotions? A simple courage based in good faith.

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