Just Relationships

in: Devotional, Forgiving Day-by-Day

Woman Suffering-200

Scripture

Proverbs 28:5 (NIV)

Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.

Consider

This deceptively simple proverb unveils three truths about relationships.

  1. Justice (“what is right”) is a relationship issue. When we are unjust, our selfish choices cause harm and suffering in others.
  2. We choose whether to approach our relationships as people with selfish intent (“evildoers”) or surrendered to God’s purpose (“those who seek the LORD”).
  3. Those who seek God understand fully what evildoers cannot understand. To “fully understand” injustice means not only to grasp a situation intellectually but also to care about its consequences. Evildoers may not see how their actions hurt others, or if they do see, they lack the compassion to care. Those who seek God, on the other hand, have the mind of Christ. They cannot see injustice without seeing also the suffering involved and be moved to make things right.

The evildoers in this proverb are spiritually blind. Without excusing hurtful behavior, the proverb helps us to understand how people can and do willfully hurt each other, even among friends and family members, with abuse and violence, treachery and abandonment. Selfish intent overrides moral integrity, justifies the unconscionable, and promotes evil in our closest circles.

Even God-followers can fall into the trap of doing the work of evil in our relationships. When I am not seeking God’s ways, I am apt to make choices selfishly, limited by my own needs and desires. I can be tempted to rationalize my actions and blind myself to the suffering I cause.

God calls us to a better way, the way of Jesus, who showed us how to love sacrificially, to recognize when others are suffering from injustice of any kind, and to feel moved to make things right, starting with ourselves.

Pray

FATHER, I have been the victim of cruelty I could not explain. I have suffered at the hands of people who would not acknowledge the pain they caused me. Help me to look past their evil actions and see hearts that are blind and in desperate need of your light and truth. Give me the compassion I need to forgive these people. Forgive me also, Lord, for the evil work I’ve done in my relationships. Give me wisdom and courage to set things right wherever I can.

Reflect

Matthew 9:36-37; Colossians 3:12-14

Ponder

What does it mean to forgive a person for an unforgivable act?

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Living in Light

in: Devotional, Forgiving Day-by-Day

Candle Bible Rosary-230

Scripture

John 1:1-5 (NLT)

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

Consider

Word. Life. Light. Like a good novelist, John opens his Gospel with images of his main character. Jesus is the Word, the very essence of almighty God made flesh to walk the earth as one of us.

Resolutions That Stick

in: Devotional, Forgiving Day-by-Day

Resolutions-230

Scripture

Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT)

Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

Consider

"Headaches are like resolutions. You forget them as soon as they stop hurting."

This quote from the movie Psycho (1960) gives us a clue as to why our New Year's resolutions tend to give out before the winter snow melts.

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