Truth to help you respond well when encountering liars, cheats, and thieves.
No one is exempt. You know it to be true from your own personal experience.
Somewhere along the way you got burned by someone you trusted. You were either lied to, cheated on, or stolen from.
Perhaps you are someone who more easily trusts other people. You default to seeing the good in others and choose to believe them. Some would call you naive. And no doubt you yourself wonder if you are and if that could be the reason why others can take advantage of you.
Take heart. You are not alone. There are lots of us, I dare say, the majority of us, who choose to trust what others tell us.
So how do you react when treated unfairly or when someone takes advantage of you? Though tempted to take revenge, what would God have you do in response?
He gave me the opportunity to find out.
It was on the recommendation of my neighbors that I hired a repairman to fix a few projects we needed help on. He was a likable guy and was impressively thorough in giving me a detailed estimate. He was confident and reassured me he would get all the work finished within a couple of days. Since he had to buy parts to get started, I felt fine about pre-paying him. After all, he told me that’s the way all of my neighbors did business with him.
Eight weeks later, after multiple texts back and forth, numerous voicemails, and a myriad of excuses, I discovered the harsh reality. He lied, cheated, and kept my money.
The reality is, I got “burned!” Now what?
Un-arguably my story is rather trite compared to others, maybe yours, whose lives have been forever altered by the actions of liars, cheats, and thieves.
I was angry and felt justified in wanting revenge. So, I prayed …
“Jesus, this is familiar territory for You. You’ve been betrayed, lied to, lied about, misjudged, insulted, and from a human standpoint, ‘burned’ by the very people You gave your life for.
Yet You loved us even knowing what evil potential lies within (John 2:25). Still, You loved us to the point of death and gave Yourself for us!
In all the stories told of You in the gospels or in the writings of the prophets and the letters of the New Testament, there is no mistaking how You handled things. It’s abundantly clear that not only did You model it in Your own life, but You require Your true followers to act or react the same way.”
Jesus taught us what we should do as recorded in His “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5-7:
- Forgive your enemy, the offender. (6:14)
- Pray for them and love them. (5:44)
- Do not seek revenge or “payback.” (5:39)
- Go the extra mile in helping them. (5:41)
- Don’t judge and you won’t be judged. (7:1)
- Get the log out of your own eye, so you can see clearly to remove the splinter from the other person’s eye. (7:5)
- Do to others what you want them to do to you. (7:12)
Well, there it is. He’s made clear to me (and you) how to react to unfair treatment from others you trusted.
No way, no how, can we accomplish that list! That is if we attempt them in our own strength. We also know that if we completely surrender our evil tendencies and allow Jesus to live His life through us by His Holy Spirit, then we can be like Him. And we can react in the same way that Jesus showed us.
Does that mean I should let a guy like my repairman off the hook? Not necessarily. He should be held accountable. But the way in which I handle it with my attitude and actions will either help me (and him) or hurt me.
What about you?
In light of what Jesus requires of those who claim to be His followers, what will you do about the person who “burned” you?
What if getting treated unfairly doesn’t have to “burn” us? Rather, it can “ignite” us. Ignite us to live like Him. What better opportunity than to be more like Jesus and if at all possible reach out and help the one who mistreated us?
“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” Luke 6:27-28 (NLT)
Adhering to what Jesus taught us will keep us free from bitterness, resentment, and revenge.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 (NLT)
We can live free and at peace with the confidence that no matter what, God is able to handle things in a way that lines up with His justice and purposes.Surrender and trust Him to do what He wants to do in you, for you, and through you.
Todd Isberner is a husband, father, business owner and author of “What Every Man Needs to Know”. As a result of his own life-altering conversion, Todd invested over 40 years learning to master the cornerstones of a man’s life: faith, family, fitness and finances. His success is based on discovering the deeper meanings and impact each one of these has in life. A former business owner, professional media consultant and coach, today Todd invests his time mentoring other men along their journey to success. More at ToddIsberner.com
For a more in-depth look at how to create intimacy with God get Todd Isberner’s new book “What Every Man Needs to Know: How to Master Faith, Family, Fitness and Finance” here: https://www.amazon.com/What-Every-Man-Needs-Know/dp/0578429411/