Feeling Forced? Want Vindication?
If crisis reveals character, this is certainly the season for exposing our true nature. Organizational structures and we who populate them are finding for better and for worse. Where we are healthy and where we are not.
Are you committed to working for an organization or ministry, but things are going sideways?
Victimized, misunderstood, feeling forced to do? To be?
There is a great little story tucked away in 2 Kings. It tells of a girl who chooses the best for her victimizer. The writer of this book didn't see fit to record her name; I think he made a mistake. She is worthy of a name. But then, perhaps God knew that you and I could identify better with her if she remained anonymous. Unknown, like you and me?
"Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman's wife" (2 kings 5:1, 2).
If she was at all like you and me, she must have been secretly happy that her master was afflicted with this terrible disease. After all, wasn't that his punishment? Sweet Retribution?
Do any of us secretly hope that the plans of leadership will fail?
That the lead person will lose their position?
That you will be vindicated?
She was less like me (and maybe you) than I thought, for she only wished the best for him:
She said to her mistress, "If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:3).
At some point in our lives, you and I become victimized. While being oppressed may be out of our control.
Remaining the victim is influenced by our response. It is ours to choose.
Wanting payback for those who victimize has always been an ungodly but accepted quality. One of my guilty pleasures is watching a retribution themed movie, and the wronged get their revenge. The harsher, the better.
Christ taught a novel, counter-cultural way of responding to abuse: redemptive rather than retributive.
If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:41-44).
Our redemptive response emancipates us from a victim mindset.
Our redemptive response reveals our nature and builds character.