Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8
When we are abused, the time and energy we spend focusing on the wrong done to us frequently exceed the actual affliction we’ve endured. Have you ever brooded for hours, days, even weeks over a minor infraction leveled against you? If so, you are not alone. But God commands us, for our own sakes, to forgive our abusers. Because Christ forgave us, there is no biblical justification for an unforgiving spirit. An unforgiving spirit is worse than cancer. Dwelling on harm done to us only magnifies our misery and intensifies our pain.
Unforgiveness is simply the determination to keep punishing our abusers. Yet God tells us that vengeance belongs to Him. Instead of focusing on bringing justice to others, we should pray for our abusers; we should pray for God to reveal the motivations behind their actions, that we might better understand our situation.
God never instructs us to retaliate. Instead, He shows us a way to move forward. The past cannot hold us back from doing what God desires of us, unless we allow it to. By seeking God’s guidance in dealing with abuse, we open ourselves to godly healing.
The next time you are the object of someone else’s venom, look for God to make something good of that experience. When you are tempted to dwell on negative thoughts, fill your mind with helpful things instead (Philippians 4:8).
I know that when I brood on the injustices committed against me, I am passing up an opportunity for grace. Tell me, Lord, when I am doing this, and open my ears to hear.