Today's scripture: Proverbs 20:22 (read)
The Advent season is the time of year to look forward to celebrating Jesus’ birth. It is also a time we think about peace and reflect back over the past. If we have been wronged by someone, it is easy to feel resentment and have a desire to seek vengeance. Feelings of vengeance weigh us down and it is hard to experience peace.
When I was a boy and my father was a pastor of a church, he was deeply hurt when some members tried to vote him out. I felt anger and wanted revenge against the people who had hurt him. When I asked him if he wanted revenge, he said he still loved them even though they had hurt him.
Many years later, I had the privilege of leading music in a revival and was delighted to find myself working with a wonderful couple who loved the Lord and music as I did. When I mentioned them to my mother, she told me they had spearheaded the movement against my father because they wanted their son to be the pastor.
It took awhile, but the Lord put me in the position to work with that particular couple and with the Lord’s help, I was able to let go of the desire to seek revenge and to love them, as well.
I have found that praying for someone who has offended me helps me put things into a different perspective. When I talk through offenses with the Lord, it is easier to wait on him to work things out. It may not be the way I would want at first, but waiting on the Lord to work through the hurt in his timing is by far better than mine. Is there someone you need to forgive?
Walter Coplen is a Christian counselor with Coplen, Wright & Associates in Columbia and Jefferson City.
This 2011 Advent devotion originally appeared in the November 17 issue of Word&Way.