“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Romans 12:14, 17, 19-21 ESV
Choosing to live above persecution is probably the most difficult thing to do, especially if you’re a prideful person. It’s even more difficult to do when you don’t know why it’s happening. So to actually abide by the word here seems virtually impossible.
But something changed in me…something broke in me this past month. I cried so much. I talked to God and admitted my choices and part in what caused my persecution. And it seemed therein lie my peace. It was in my total transparency with God and myself that I experienced relief from my pain and I could truly laugh at the things that were happening and being said to me.
I hope that from all this you take away how essential it is to your relationship with God to be transparent with Him, if no one else. Living life that way will help you to see the whole picture, seeing yourself for who you really are. It will help you go deeper in God but empower you to be a person God can trust. By choosing to not merely point the finger at the offending party, you can connect with God in a way like never before. Right now I think of Paul and how he spoke of his unworthiness, of his thorn in his flesh, how he often chose what was not right because he did the things he shouldn’t instead of those he should, and more importantly how God boldly used Paul in spite of his torture and persecution of early believers. That’s been my walk…learning to recognize my shortcomings, seeing God’s beautiful grace in them and being used in spite of them. I’ve also been like Peter — full of zeal for God and ready to slice off someone’s ear in the next minute in my anger. But it has been in my admitting that truth about myself that I recognized my need for God’s grace.
I see now that all of this ties into God’s call of immediate obedience over my life this season because if you choose to immediately obey — which means forgiving your offender at God’s nudging, extending that person grace (as well as yourself), acting as God leads in relation to them and the situation, and choosing to let go of the things they have said to and about you, you fulfill the scriptures above.
It’s been in my transparency about my poor choices that I’ve found God to be more real and more present. It’s been in choosing to pray for the person who has hurt me that I feel the greatest release. I have to remind myself to pray for God to empower me to extend forgiveness daily so that offense doesn’t creep up on me towards those who have wronged me (The Bait of Satan) but it’s been in remembering that God too forgave me that I found freedom.
Being elevated or lifted up above your circumstances requires you to see everything and the only way you can get the peace you need to is go to God in the midst of those circumstances to connect with Him there and let go – of pretenses, of false pride, of feeling like you should be immune to more suffering. The goal of trials is to make us more like Christ so as you admit your need for God, you more deeper or higher in God to be empowered for success.