Would You Serve the Ones Who Hurt You?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, December 3, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

If we live long enough, we all face rejection. The more personal the rejection, the harder it is to forgive. It's even harder to imagine helping or serving the ones who hurt you.  I have been on both sides - the one hurt, and the one who hurt. I have been the one being served, humbled by grace and in forgiveness. And I have had to make the choice to serve those who wounded me. In both cases, there is only ONE reason why it happened: God. He had grace enough to cover the offenses, and a purpose for everyone involved.

The decision we all have to make is whether or not we will live our life, even our wounded experiences, for His purposes. Look at what happened to Jephthah in Judges 11:1-11.

After being rejected by his family and the leaders of his people, because he was born to a prostitute, Jephthah is faced with the decision to serve them as their leader. Initially, it didn't matter to them that Jephthah's father was Gilead, they just saw him as the worthless child of a harlot. But when the struggle with the Ammonites was too much for them, they seek out Jephthah to lead.

Jephthah has a choice: let them suffer and get even with them for rejecting him, or step forward to serve. It is in this moment Jephthah had to check his motives and decide. We get a hint into his thinking by the question he asks.

Instead of throwing their offenses back in their face, he asks a simple question (paraphrased): “If I do this, will you make me your leader as you promise?” This question in itself shows the heart of Jephthah. He asks about their commitment and resolve. For some reason, Jephthah seems to have it as an assumption that he can, and perhaps SHOULD, take on this role.

In Jephthah's situation, we are challenged with a difficult question. Are we willing to serve God, even when He prepares for us to serve those who hate us, hurt us, or are our enemies?

We can find the strength and courage to serve our enemies by remembering that EVERY situation in life is about God's purposes and plans. Getting our eyes off of our benefit, and letting go of the desire to control our offenders, is a start. If we truly want God's will in every situation, we will find a freedom to live and to serve in whatever situation He prepares. And the outcome He brings will be good.

The way we face our pain and serve God through it may position us to accomplish some greater purpose. It may be the example that changes someone else's life who has been watching us, or it may be the very process God uses to unburden us from the wound we were carrying. Or, like Jephthah, it could be the situation that rescues or changes the course of our nation.

Whether you are struggling with personal offenses, the results of the latest election, or some other experience you feel has been inflicted upon you, take a hint from Jephthah. It is a waste of our life to harbor resentment and seek revenge, even for very painful experiences. It is best to seek God's will and to take on each opportunity we have with our eyes focused on Him.

Are you constantly looking for God's purpose in every situation? Here is a tool you can use daily as a prayer and to help you reflect on your motives: Matthew 6:5-15. Read these verses and memorize them, particularly the Lord's Prayer. Praying this prayer that Jesus taught His disciples can help you get perspective and stay focused on God's plans. May God bless you with clarity as you pray.

(Note: For those in actively harmful or abusive situations, let me be clear - I am not saying to extend trust to an offender who has abused you, or to put yourself in an unwisely vulnerable situation. If you are actively being abused, you MUST seek help and get to safety. Jephthah's example is not about allowing abuse or being someone's doormat. From a place of equal power and freedom as a person, Jephthah chose to serve those who had rejected him. Again, if you are actively being harmed by others, you MUST seek out help from a trustworthy adult who has the authority and ability to get you to safety.)

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