Let me ask you a question: has anyone had a red-hot crack at you? At your character? At your integrity? At your honesty?
Pretty much everyone has experienced this at some point, and if you have you’ll also know that one of the characteristics of this experience is a burning desire to get even. Actually no, more like: to win. To be proven right and to come out on top.
Psalm 7 was written in response to a personal attack. In Psalm 7:1 David says: “Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me.”
His appeal implies two things about God: 1) he is like a fortress or strong tower and 2) This fortress has the weaponry to defeat his enemies thus delivering him from their hand. I find this interesting because they are the very two things that I am most tempted to be when I feel under threat. I want to appear tough like a fortress and I want to unleash my ‘arsenal’ or verbal weapons.
I short, I want the victory so I want to fight the battle.
David however, is able to allow the Lord to fight his battles because his desire is for God to have the victory; and hence glory.
I never really understood the full nuances of this concept until quite recently when I received one of the most unreasonable complaint emails I have ever received. I won’t go into too much detail but suffice it to say, that after not hearing from this person for 2 years, this person chose one random day to insinuate that what we do at Waratah is not about faith in Christ at all.
Now this actually doesn’t surprise me as much as you might think. I write further about how folks tend to wait in silence until a random blow-up to give you feedback here. What did catch me off guard however, was how much I wanted to write a tome to rival ‘war and peace’ in response to these preposterous allegations! Then something else happened, I began to get grumpy, feeling sorry for myself.
I continued to think about all the brilliant and devastating uses of language I could use in response until my wife challenged me to rather than make a case, make a gift. To pour out an offer of generosity to the person who had just had a crack, and just love on them in the most practical way.
As I followed her advice, I realised almost by accident that my mood began to improve. I realised that as I responded in a way as to ensure God received the victory, the more guaranteed was the victory. Let me put it another way; I have noticed that when you go out to get some payback for yourself….it never satisfies. You never really feel like you have indeed achieved the victory. Even on the odd chance that someone apologises, you don’t want to accept the apology.
Clearly we were made for something different. Our emotional and mental selves attest to a spiritual truth; allowing God to fight on our behalf, is the beginning of our own victory.
Let me say that again: Allowing God to fight on our behalf, is the beginning of our own victory. (Funny, that almost sounds like the gospel in a nutshell!)
What is that victory? In a word: peace. Strangely, the greatest opportunity in the midst of personal attack is the experience of an entirely new level of peace.
It’s a peace that surpasses understanding because it is a peace that surpasses the way we usually tick. It a peace that comes from one whose ways are far above our ways and thoughts far about our thoughts. Yet it is so simple to access: give up the right to fight, allow the victory to go to God, and it’s yours thrown in for free.