It occurs to me so much that at times, when a loved one hurts us, it can be very easy to get angry and eventually wish them bad. However, there is still room in your heart to love them, but you want them to learn from their mistakes so you try to make God work against that person. But it is very funny how we human beings act, because we too are not perfect ourselves. If you think the person who hurt you needs to be punished, then why not look at yourself and examine your own life before looking into someone else’s?
We all have to be real with ourselves and know our inner motives as to why we want that person to suffer. Lets look at Luke 15. I am sure most of you know about the story of The Prodigal Son. I’ll break it down: The main character in the parable; the forgiving father, whose character remains constant throughout the story, is a picture of God. In telling the story, Jesus identifies Himself with God in His loving attitude to the lost. The younger son symbolizes the lost (in other words; the sinner), and the elder brother represents the self-righteous. The major theme of this parable seems not to be so much the conversion of the sinner, but rather the restoration of a believer into fellowship with the Father. In the first two parables, the owner went out to look for what was lost, whereas in this story the father waits and watches eagerly for his son’s return. The father waits ‘patiently’ for his son to come back from his mess. See how his father did not accuse him of mis-using the money anyhow. Yes the younger brother spent money on unnecessary things, but he realised that it was not his money, but the fathers.
We see in this story the graciousness of the father overshadowing the sinfulness of the son, as it is the memory of the father’s goodness that brings the prodigal son to repentance. This is where the eldest brother was not too happy due to the younger brother’s behavior. In life, you would be shocked at the people you know who act so bad, but yet receives the most love. It can be confusing for some of us, especially those who work hard, staying up late to finish coursework and preparation for exams, feeding your siblings with no parents around, working long hours but not getting the pay you deserve; all these tasks are not easy; it can be draining!
Towards the end of the story in Luke 15, we see that the youngest brother ‘came to himself’ and said that this was not the life that his father wanted him to live. So he went back to the father’s house and apologised for all he did. It amazes me when people are humble enough to admit their fault, and change their ways. The younger brother was so sorry, that when the eldest brother found out that the father had thrown him a party, he became very angry. Do you think he had a right to be angry? Some would say yes because the younger brother put the curse on himself. His dad did not tell him to use the money anyhow, but he still did it anyway. On the other hand, some would say no because we all need mercy and forgiveness from time to time.
The painful part about life is when you are suffering and the person who is meant to suffer is getting all the attention, and you are there just picking up the pieces…
It is painful to feel that way, especially when you know you have been faithful! Most of the time, we treat people so well, but don’t get what we expect in return. Sometimes we put in 100% in our work, effort, time and commitment to others, and they only give 60%. I remember I had a friend who I loved so much! This girl was my sister (not blood), but I just called her my sister because she acted like one. Every time I would give my all, she would give me 40%! 40 out of 100% is very low! I was drained physically, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and mentally! You would be surprised how much you invest in someone and not get the same investment back.
Ladies, we must realise that giving our time to people should not be something we do grudgingly, it should be done out of love. The painful thing about life at times is when we see others who have not put in enough work as you did receive the blessing that you worked hard for. What do you do when God blesses someone you don’t like? At the same time, we must be reminded that we too are human and can easily fall. In Matthew 7:1-5 it states that we should “(1) Judge not that you may not be judged (2) For with the judgement you pronounce, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (3) Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (4) Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? (5) You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brothers eye”.
Jesus did not just die for those who claim are Holy, but He also died for sinners. So no matter how righteous you may think you are, only God truly sees the inner motives of the heart. We cannot try to cover our own faults and blame it on other people, especially when we too have done things that we not pleasing to God. How many times have you wanted someone you hated to get in trouble? Be real. I can strongly guarantee that quite a lot of us wanted someone we love get in trouble because of the way they treated us. What do you do when you are tempted to give up on someone you care about? How can you erase the pain of how your ex treated you? What can you do to stop the pain from when your friends heard something about you that you done in the past?
We all have these problems ladies, there is nothing new in God’s eyes because He knows it all. In order to be free from the past, we must first of all learn to submit our issues to God. Do not try to do this on your own. It will mentally and emotionally drain you. Instead use the pain that a loved one caused you as an opportunity to draw closer to God, and see how He will comfort you. Saying that you want a loved one to be treated bad is not a sign of spiritual maturity. We must learn to love those who hurt us, for when we do that, we are heaping burning coals on their head (Proverbs 5:22).
When someone you dislike is being blessed with something that you have been waiting for quite a while, do not envy them, for you do not know the inner pain and process they had to go through to get that. If I am truly honest with you guys, we do not even deserve God’s love, YET He chose to love us anyway! We do not deserve His mercy, but YET His Grace is sufficient for us! There are so many things we take for granted, but still God loves us anyway. He shows His love by giving us chances upon chances, giving us life, giving us a place to lay our heads and rest. We may not have everything materialistically, but at least we have eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to cook, the list goes on. May we not take anything for granted, especially His unconditional love.
So I encourage you today, if you feel like you are fed up of someone, maybe you have compared your life against theirs, saying that you work so much harder that you deserve to be blessed more than the other person, think about what you are saying, because God is not a God of favoritism (Romans 2:11). He is no respecter of man, whether you are a CEO of a well-known company or a cleaner at McDonald’s. He loves everyone equally. Do not try to use your position to outshine someone who is lower than you. The challenge for most of us today, particularly those in power is HOW YOU TREAT PEOPLE! It is not how you treat people on your own level that God is concerned about, but it is how you treat people who are BELOW YOUR LEVEL. The way you treat people regardless of age, colour, occupation, status will be highly dependent on the way God blesses you.
Let us remember to treat people the way we would like to be treated, and to remind ourselves that when we are quick to judge someone or look down on them, we should examine our lives first and see the faults you have committed. Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you.
“For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust”. (Matthew 5:45).