Life can sometimes be very difficult. Even when we are seeking to do what is right, we can be attacked and ridiculed. Such was the case for the prophet Jeremiah. He had been sent by God to preach a message of repentance to God’s people; yet the result of his preaching was not their repentance, but greater rebellion. Rather than listening to Jeremiah and turning back to God, the people of Judah accused him of being a false prophet and at times attacked him not only verbally, but physically as well. How should we respond whenever we are being treated unjustly?
We could try to resist
We could try to fight back against those who attack us, yet the Bible says: “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Mt 5:39)
“But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.” (Ps 59:16-17)
We could try to retaliate
We could quote scripture and say – ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ (Ex 21:24) Yet the Bible also tells us: Romans 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil… 19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord. 20 But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. 21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good. NLT
We can choose to rest
Consider this prayer of Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 17:14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.
There were times when Jeremiah needed to be revived physically; but most often the healing he needed was a healing of the soul and spirit. The old saying – “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me” just isn’t true. Unkind words can wound us deeply.
Perhaps you need to pray Jeremiah’s prayer today. Perhaps you need to ask God for an emotional and spiritual healing. Consider these words of encouragement from Peter-
1 Peter 2:19 For God is pleased with you when, for the sake of your conscience, you patiently endure unfair treatment. 20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing right and are patient beneath the blows, God is pleased with you. 21 This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps. 22 He never sinned, and he never deceived anyone. 23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. 24 He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds! 25 Once you were wandering like lost sheep. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls. NLT