Spirituality Information

Shallow Victories

How many of you out there have ever wondered if a life of faith is worth it? Don't shy away from me, because you know there have been instances in your life when the bad guys won. The world is not fair, and the concept that good always triumphs can seem like fiction when you look around and see deceit running rampant. This fallen world shows its imperfections in countless ways, and every once in a while you're going to fall prey to it.

We've all found ourselves in those annoying situations where it seems that good guys do finish last. You know exactly what I mean: You get volunteered for a project because you were on vacation and weren't there to object (and nobody stood up for you because they were too busy protecting themselves). A colleague that has a lot less responsibility makes a lot more money. The previous homeowners did the damage that you have to pay to repair - but feigned ignorance and perfectly concealed it, so are considered blameless. A coworker spends months playing politics and gets the promotion that you were, without a doubt, more qualified for. The list could go on and on, but I believe you get the picture - sometimes people get away with being deceitful.

There's nothing more maddening to the Christian than to see somebody walk away from wrong actions unscathed. It's even worse when you're the one that has to pay for their mistakes. Many people have the notion that being a believer protects us from the injustices in the world. Unfortunately, that's wrong. Although we live by a higher kingdom, we're still stuck in a sinful, corrupt world; and that world loves to prey on believers more than anybody. For some reason, we seem to have "SUCKER" stamped on our foreheads, and some people just can't resist aiming for that target.

I'm not sure why, but for some reason both believers and non-believers think that Christians are not allowed to get angry. A look through the Bible would shock these people. A lot of the Old Testament is about God's wrath at the Israelites for turning against Him and worshipping pagan idols. Christ himself had an issue with some moneychangers outside the Temple, and often walked away from encounters with the Pharisees and Sadducees angry and frustrated. If He is without sin, then anger is not wrong. Rather, it would seem through the numerous examples in the Bible that it's a God-given response to being mistreated. I believe too many people have gotten handling anger confused with expressing anger. Anger is a perfectly normal emotion, but there is a Godly way to handle it and express it.

I have come to believe that it's in human nature to test limits. People have a natural tendency to see how much they can get away with; some of us have just learned to control this urge and respect the boundaries of acceptable behavior better than others. Every once in a while, you're going to run into somebody that completely disregards the limits and doesn't care about the ramifications of their behavior. As Christians, we know there is no way to make such behavior correct. Unfortunately, we live in a world that believes the ends justify the means. In our society, it simply doesn't matter how many people you step on as long as you make it to the top.

Anger in these situations is certainly justified, and I believe we would benefit by learning what the Lord thinks about such behavior. Psalm 37 instructs us "Fret not yourself because of the wicked, be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb" (Psalm 37:1-2 RSV). Although it may look like people are getting away with wrong behavior, the truth is that the Lord has seen everything and intends to deal with them in a time and way that will speak to them best. Their victory is shallow, because it's temporary. They may win the battle, but they have no hope of winning the war.

Although the world is corrupt and it seems that the wicked win, we are warned, "do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7 RSV). This is not just a concept to balance the scales of justice, but an opportunity to learn from our experiences as well. My grandfather used to always tell me that you always reap what you sow, and I have learned this is true for our benefit. It allows us to grow in wisdom and strength, and to walk humbly with the Lord. By learning from our experiences, we fine-tune our ability to abide by the Holy Spirit. I used to think that reaping what you sow was just a way to reward good behavior and punish bad behavior, but I have learned that it really about building Christ-like character and drawing closer to the Lord. If only everybody would take advantage of this opportunity, but instead many still choose wicked ways and honestly don't understand why things have a way of falling apart in the end.

We will be mistreated from time to time, but rest assured that the victory people gain from abusing others is shallow. We are promised that the will fade and wither, and that is exactly what the end result of their efforts will be. You may never know that the person that person that plays politics for a promotion doesn't do good work. The people that sold you a house with expensive damage will never tell you that they wound out buying a house that was damaged much worse. And don't expect that the lazy, overpaid employee to advertise that they have so many reprimands on their record that it's impossible for them to get another job. People that pull such stunts have a clever way of hiding it when they reap the consequences of their actions. Although you may not see it, you can know they will reap what they sowed. It may not be in exactly the same way they wronged you, but it will be in a way that will speak to them most effectively to deal with the wrong thoughts that lead to their actions.

It may seem like the good guys finish last, but that's only one leg of the race. Feel free to share your frustration with the Lord, because He understands how you feel. Don't worry, because He is well capable of dealing with your anger. In fact, He needs for you to express it so He can offer you the comfort you need for your specific situation. Talk to God, yell, scream, cry, and then pray for His help and guidance. Don't ruin your happiness by clinging to anger and thoughts of revenge, because such people aren't worth disturbing your peace and joy.

While your tormentors are gloating over their victory, remember, "the LORD laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming" (Psalm 37:13 RSV). Through Christ you already have the ultimate victory, so be thankful and laugh with Him.

Sherri Fulmer Moorer is a freelance Christian/Inspirational writer from Columbia, SC. Her writing focuses on applying faith to everyday living situations, and is based on her own personal experiences and the experiences of those around her. Her goal is to show people that the battles they face in life are shared by others, and how the Lord can use their experiences to build faith. She is the author of Battleground Earth - Living by Faith in a Pagan World (PublishAmerica 2004), which is a book about spiritual warfare and discovering faith in day-to-day living.

For additional information, please visit the Battleground Earth web page at http://hometown.aol.com/bgearth/index.html


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