Monday, October 16, 2006


I've been reading Psalms the last few days, trying to understand some things. It is safer for me to read them now that I no longer hope for God to smite my enemies.

Apparently David experienced the shunning also.

Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors;
I am a dread to my friends--
those who see me on the street flee from me.
I am forgotten by them as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
(Psalm 31:11-12)

I know what that is like. My identity over the last two years has been She-Who-Must-Be-Avoided. The tide is suddenly turning, and to a few people, I have become She-Who-Knew.

I had settled into my identity as outcast, accepting the chafing and sometimes stabbing discomfort. I was prepared to wear that cloak indefinitely. I'm not sure how to wear this new cloak. It seems bright, shiny, maybe too appealing.

So I've been reading the Psalms, trying to figure out how to react when those who have been your adversaries begin reaping the fruit of their own behavior. I want to be able to walk this next phase of the journey with maturity and wisdom.

The righteous will be glad when they are avenged...
Then men will say,
Surely the righteous still are rewarded;
surely there is a God who judges the earth.
(Psalm 58:10-11)

I think it's important to remember that God sees it all. It has been hard to trust, to believe I would see this resolved, at least in this lifetime.

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
(Psalm 27:13-14)

I also take some good advice from Matthew 5 and pray for those who rose up against us. In my mind, I must separate the evil from the persons involved because my heart yearns for God to rise up against all that is wicked and false, bringing it to complete destruction.

Yet at the same time, I pray for mercy for the individuals who are involved because, but for the grace of God, I might have been one of them. Sometimes mercy is God's correction when we have involved ourselves in ways that are false. I know that it is God's mercy that we are no longer there.


Anonymous said...

We had a situation (not church-related) where we could have had vengeance - we could've sued their pants off, to be honest. It was a struggle, but we felt really clearly that God had said "let me handle this MY way." It was a tough thing to let go of, we had been manipulated, hurt, and our names had been drug through the mud for nothing we had done wrong. But I never felt the peace I have in knowing that God can vindicate way more effectively than I can.

I'm glad you may be at a point of seeing God "handle it." Not for the "neener-neener", but so that you can be even more clear on how far you can really trust Him to take care of you.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I think it's helpful to remember God as a God of justice, not simply of vengeance. There isn't instant retribution of course because of God's mercy, but when that mercy is spurned after being offered for a season(cf. Rom. 2:4-6), there is no longer a basis on which the sinner can be reconciled with the Lord, and discipline or judgment in some form then kicks in.

This is not just a vindication of the innocent victim, but of God's ways. This has happened to me a number of times, and the working out of it has erased rancor and bitterness in me in the process. It's not an easy process, but it does work.

Robbymac said...

I heard a great comment from my old friend Brother Maynard when he & his family were camping in our back yard in August:

"Vindication is an obsession for the young. Older Christians are more concerned with the healthy ethos for the next generation, than with their being recognized as 'right'."

I'm still chewing on that one, but I think my dear Brother may be on to something...

Pastor Astor said...

Your identity was never "She-Who-Must-Be-Avoided". No other person can prescribe you an identity, unless you let them. The little close knit group you are speaking about - what perecntege of the world population are they? What percentege of the earths surface does their church building occupy? You are still talking about them as they are the universe, like they are the only people that matter, and if you cant get their approval, it´s all over. Well, it´s not. The sooner you can turn your back at them and leave them to their pervetrted introverted powergames the better. The world is out there! There are loads of people out there. Your future is out there...
(I hope I haven´t been to upfront and unsensitive, english is not my first language...

maz said... glad to read this...someone has and is going through stuff I have, and am too!!

Anonymous said...

Just lost my message for a 3rd time...I hate BETA.

Anyway, as I was saying, abuse by other christians is about how we handle it, not how they do.

As Aslan said to Lucy, "I am telling you your story, not theirs".

Not to sound trite...I haven't reached that place where I don't hope for vindication. Actually, for most of them, I just want them to wake up, and for the leaders, to REPENT, because, quite honestly, I would not want to be them when they realise what they have done to quite literally thousands of people.

Lorna said...

It's enough to pray for His will to be done ... and to bless rather than curse (also from the heart)

I hear your pain and I'm sorry for it. I wantto encourage you to hold onto His plans and promises. He never wastes anointing! OK?

grace said...

Like you, we are so grateful for that clear voice that said, "Be quiet, and keep your hands off of this." We are encouraged that in following Him on this difficult path, He truly has cared for and protected us.

Your comments were very helpful to me. There is a sense of vindication in the sense that the accusations and suspicions regarding us are being proved wrong. For my own faith, the vindication of God's ways was important. I needed to see that continuing in a false way would not succeed indefinitely.

I think that is a good quote, but perhaps a bit simplistic. Agreed that an obsession with vindication is unhealthy and immature. For us, the clearing of our reputation has been a huge relief. Yes, we were willing to be made of no reputation, but the standing alone was often discouraging.

The desire for a healthy ethos for our children is one of the things that drove us to get free from an unhealthy ethos. Sadly, in our former church, it is the younger generation (young families and youth) who are still under the spell of the false teaching.

In that sense, I hope that truth is revealed.

pastor astor,
I appreciate your comments, and no they aren't insensitive.

While I knew that wasn't my identity, it was difficult not to succumb to the shame directed my way.

Thank you for the reminder not to become small-minded about this situation. At times it has been all-encompassing because in "my world" this was all there was. This entire process has been good in helping to expand my focus.

Nice to meet you! Sorry if you have been through stuff like this too.

So true! If I don't learn the lessons from this part of my journey, what's the point.

I don't think that it is wrong to desire that the leaders repent. I did come to the point where I could wish for mercy for them, not revenge.

Thank you for the encouragement.