When someone strikes me on the cheek, my natural instinct is rarely to turn the other cheek, I would rather hit back and twice as hard if possible (remember, I am still God’s Work-In-Progress). So, when an on-again, off-again friend (let’s call him Greg) went to town, supplying fodder for gossip, I wanted to strike back.
I was so hurt and at a point, I was no longer interested in clearing my name, I just wanted Greg to feel some pain too so being a ‘Good Christian’, I decided not to confront Greg as I just wasn’t sure I could control my tongue.
Piously, I went to God in prayer, stated my grievances, reminded Him of Romans 12:19 which says “Do not avenge yourself……..vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” and then I waited to see how He would punish Greg. Well, nothing happened; Greg was just fine!
I couldn’t believe it and for many nights I kept wondering if God would let Greg go scot-free, wouldn’t He avenge me? Finally, He asked me a question, “Will you let Me be Me?”
I don’t know if God ever asks you questions and if He does how readily you answer Him because I tend to take my time. I thought over His question and then like a true Nigerian, I answered His question with another question; I asked “What do you mean, Lord?
God said to me that just as He is a God of Justice, He is also a God of Mercy, and that in this instance, He would rather show mercy.
He reminded me that nobody is perfect, on our journey of life conflict is inevitable; humans will step on each other’s toes, whether intentionally or not. He encouraged me to see beyond my pain and realise that this was an opportunity for me to sow a seed into my future; was it going to be a seed of retribution or a seed of mercy?
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked: For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap (Gal 6:7)
If I wanted God to show me mercy at some time in the future when someone cries to Him because of how I had hurt them, I needed to let Him show mercy to Greg that night.
Please don’t misunderstand me, God doesn’t and has never needed my permission to do anything. Sometimes however, He does things that are out of the box just to teach me things and this, was one of those times.
That night, my prayer changed from “Lord, vindicate me” to “Lord have mercy on Greg and help me to let go of the hurt”.
This is the way of our heavenly Father, ever loving and looking out for the best for each of His children; creating grace-filled cycles of mercy rather than vicious cycles of vengeance.
O people, the Lord has told you what is good, And this is what He requires of you: To do what is right, to love mercy,And to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)
Extending forgiveness and mercy isn’t easy, I still struggle with it but with the help of the Holy Spirit, I’m getting better at it.
Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck; Write them on the tablet of your heart (Proverbs 3:3)
Fast forward to about a year later, I needed a referral for a project and Greg provided me with an excellent one, he helped me break through all bureaucracy and protocol!