Daily Devotional: Psalms 35:19-23
19 Let not those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; let not those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. 20 They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land. 21 They gape at me and say, "Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it." 22 O LORD, you have seen this; be not silent. Do not be far from me, O Lord. 23 Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord.
1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Jesus sure has some teaching that is hard to apply in our lives! I know that we are to follow his example in all things but to allow others to mistreat us and abuse us without even saying a word is not easy to do. Even when the things they are saying about me are not true or when they malign me without any real cause on my part – even then I am supposed to love them, pray for them and go so far as to forgive them without them even acknowledging they have done wrong!?
But as I see Jesus on the cross and the religious leaders taunting him and the soldiers are oblivious to his pain while they gamble over his clothes, he is crying to God to forgive them because they don’t understand what they are doing. We say; “but this is Jesus and I’m not him.” Look at his disciple, Stephen. He was being stoned for preaching Jesus as the Christ and his resurrection and his final words as he lay dying were “Lord Jesus, do not lay this sin to their charge.”
We are told that Jesus kept entrusting himself to the one who judges righteously and this explains how we can follow his example. We can trust God to take his vengeance so we can just feel compassion on our enemies, love them and forgive them for whatever they have done to us.
Heavenly Father, God of the universe and creator of all that exists, I come to you today asking you to forgive me for my failure to always have the attitude toward others that you have shown to me. Help me to be like Jesus in all things. I need your strength every day in my life. Fill me with your Spirit and help me know your love so well that it becomes a part of me and my thinking all of the time. I am so blessed to live where and when I do and I ask you to give strength and peace to those who are living in very difficult circumstances. I pray in Jesus name.