What the Bible says about handling unjust treatment
“Do not fret because of evildoers….
Trust in the LORD and do good….
Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him…
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret…
Do not fret — it only causes harm.” (from Psalm 37)
“One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
I press on…” (Philippians 3)
Song: “Your eye is on the Sparrow and your hand it comforts me, from the ends of the earth to the depths of my heart, let Your mercy and strength receive… And I will run to You, to Your word of truth…. Not by might, nor by power, but by Your Spirit oh LORD.” (Hillsongs) These words depict a method for handling unjust treatment.
When we are treated badly: this is what we must do — “Trust in the LORD and do good, Dwell own the land, and feed on His faithfulness…”
Feed on His goodness, not on the evil that is being done
Make no mistake, injustice, unjust treatment IS evil. But we MUST leave it in the hands of GOD, not stew on it. If we eat it, it will eat us. If we ignore it, it most likely will fade away.
The evil that men do to us can be ignored. Allowing it to fester, it will grow. Ignoring it, it will die. If it doesn’t die that might be Step 2 (for another post). But first, we focus on Step 1: ignoring evil done to us.
Look at the recent trial between Johnny Depp and his ex wife Amber Heard. Look at how awful that situation has become. She may have blown out of all proportion their private lives — exposing and putting him on trial in the public eye. Now he is doing the same thing to her. What hell they are putting themselves through for money and/or reputation. Who is guilty? Should a criminal, if there are abuse crimes, be held responsible? Absolutely, of course. But why then, did the purported victim, not put her husband up on charges and allow the legal system to punish him? It is too detailed for me to analyse and dissect, and I’m not passing judgement on either of them. From what little I know, they are both going through hell and with alcohol and drug abuse, they have been through a nightmare, some of which was of their own making. BUT my point is, neither is moving forward. And in their world, how can they know any differently? It is tragic. And what is the fall-out? Broken lives, suffering.
When we are treated unjustly, how do we cope?
We forgive. We trust GOD. We move ahead in our own righteousness with Him.
Turning the other cheek, something Jesus recommends, is not only for the other person’s benefit, to give them space and time to repent, relent. It is for ourselves too, for when we forgive, we can walk away free from stress, pain, anxiety and wrath.
The opposite is true: when we do not forgive, we carry stress, pain, anxiety and wrath — or self-righteousness, which eats away at us, first through pride and anger, and ultimately through conviction that will come to us for our own sinfulness in the situation.
When we justify ourselves, we are blocking the protection from GOD.
So instead, we can rest in the LORD as Psalm 37 says, and feed on His faithfulness.
Persecution is going to come in its many shapes and forms
There are places in the world where those who love Jesus are being persecuted for their faith. So far in the West, persecution has been very mild. Christianity is top of the list for religious persecution around the globe. But in the West we have barely needed to flinch (I gather an exception is in Canada where some churches have been burned during the Covid crisis).
And yet, I’ve seen a lot of flinching, a lot of conspiracy theory shouting, a lot of discomfort. We need to toughen up if we’re going to get through it, when it comes to us, if it comes to us.
We need to learn to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) in order to overcome the temptation to strike back. IF GOD calls us to defend, then yes we must defend. But by and large, we need to ignore, walk away, overcome. “He who overcomes” remember receives much (Revelation 2, 3).
“He who loses his life will gain” — holding onto this world, holding onto our rights, holding on to what is just and fair in this world, will not enable us to grow and it will not give us crowns in heaven. We must discern between when to fight and when to ignore. And mostly, we need to ignore.
The evil that men do will not stop until Jesus returns to rule and reign
We are held in the palm of GOD’s hand. Are we going to trust Him to protect us, or are we going to fight for our rights?
This matter: handling unjust treatment, can be complicated. There are nuances and individual cases and situations. But overall, we need to allow GOD to rule and reign in our lives. We can trust in His sovereignty, trust in His ways, allow Him to grow, mould and shape us. And we can love our neighbours — even the nasty ones, event the brothers and sisters in the LORD who spite us — and walk on water.
Walking on Water
Whatever is going on around us and to us, we can focus on Jesus and trust in Him. He has what is best for us. This is “walking on water”.
Are we going to allow ourselves to strain through the mucky ponds, waist deep in the sludge of someone else’s false accusations, back-biting and disparaging remarks? Or are we going to walk on the river of life, above the criticism, lies and opinions of our enemies?
We choose. But if we choose to walk on water, we will not be pulled apart or brought down by false rumours or accusations, side-lining or cruelty. Instead, we will be washed, awakened and free.
Jesus said he came to bring life and life more abundantly. That comes from keeping our eyes fixed upon him and looking ahead. Enemies will come and go. How we handle them will determine their power or lack thereof.
I choose life. I choose peace. I choose love, and love empowers us to overcome all the threats and attempts of the enemy.
So let’s fight the good fight and finish the race. Let’s ignore that which is from the enemy, and dwell on the faithfulness, the goodness of GOD.