Releasing the Right to Revenge

Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter. – (Proverbs 20:22, NLT) 

Don’t ever say, “I’ll pay them back for what they did to me!” Wait for the Lord. He will make things right. – (Proverbs 20:22, ERV) 

Don’t ever say, “I’ll get you for that!” Wait for God; He’ll settle the score. – (Proverbs 20:22, MSG) 

 

For many, this is a difficult road to walk. Our natural inclination is to give back whatever we are given. When extended kindness, it is easy to return. However, when someone wrongs us or intentionally brings harm, it is almost without conscious thought, that our minds go to returning the hurt. With Christ in us, there is a filter to know that we are not meant to lash out in anger, nor return harm for hurt against us, yet it is a process that requires a decision to place the hurt or harm in His hands, and trust Him to handle the matter. Our part is to forgive and move forward. Forgiveness does not mean foolishly nor blindly forgetting and setting ourselves in a vulnerable or unsafe space, but it does mean letting go of our desire to lash out or get even and allow God (and if necessary, the law) to deal with the wrong-doer. May we release our perceived right for revenge, and give our offenses to God. Let us trust our hearts in His hands, as He knows best how to handle these hurdles. 

 

Speak not of revenge, Shackles No More

For it’s not our role; 

To repay all wrongs, 

Must not be our goal. 

Instead let us wait, 

Place all in God’s hands; 

He will make things right, 

He hears, understands. 

Often His answers, 

Open our blind eyes; 

We grow in His grace, 

As love’s realized. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it is not our job to get even for the harm that is done against us, but rather You ask us to place it in Your hands. Thank You that we can trust You, as You are good and just, and You love us more than we can comprehend. Forgive us for seeking to “get even” when we feel we have been wronged. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place our perceived harms in Your hands, and allow You to handle whatever has hurt our hearts. Grant us wisdom to know how to seek help if help is required, and give us strength to forgive when forgiveness is far from what is desired. Show us how to love well those who have been wronged, so that they may find Your grace and forgiveness, leaving the need for retribution in Your hands. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our hurts to You, and allow You to handle making things right when we have been wronged. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Good That Overcomes

Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, MSG)

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, NLT)

Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, ERV)

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – (Romans 12:21, NIV)

 

Though a seemingly simple concept, it is often difficult to carry out. Humans have a natural inclination to seek justice when we have been “wronged“. When someone intends us harm, the last thing we want to do, is extend kindness or grace. Jesus was the ultimate example of not allowing evil to overcome Him; for even as He hung on the cross He cried out for the forgiveness of those who placed Him there, rather than for their destruction. Most of us struggle to not use ugly words when we are cut off in traffic. I had a friend growing up that used to yell, “Bless you, in Jesus Name!“, each time someone cut him off or did something stupid on the highway that could have potentially caused harm while driving. When I asked him about it, he replied that it was a way to begin to train his heart to do good, even when he wanted otherwise. He intentionally chose words that were for good, rather than for harm, even if the tone did not yet match. Granted, I know that traffic violations are hardly comparable to gross acts of evil, but if we are able to do good with the small things, perhaps our hearts will be tender and receptive as God asks us to choose to overcome evil with good in the larger things later on. May we ever seek the Lord and His wisdom and strength, so that evil may not get the best of us and we can rise up and do the good He asks of us.

 

Flying Butterfly

Do not let evil,

Get the best of you;

For it’s overcome,

By good that we choose.

God provides the strength,

To rise and do well;

As we move in grace,

We overcome hell.

Evil cannot stand,

Where grace and love flow;

Let’s keep doing good,

So all may come know.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that evil can be defeated when we choose to do good in Your Name. Thank You that this is not something that we have to attempt to do in our own strength, but rather You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to do, so that we may overcome the darkness that would attempt to destroy us. Forgive us for thinking that we have to fight alone, or for allowing the darkness around us to overwhelm us, rather than looking to the light within. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You in all things and at all times, as You alone can overcome anything that would try to get the best of us. Show us how to love those around us, so that we would be light in dark places and do the good that overcomes that which attempts to destroy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we conquer evil by doing the good that You call us to do. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Wait Quietly in Hope

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5)

 

Now that the final days of school have passed, and our big community outreach event for church has happened, I look ahead to Christmas week and have a choice to make – do I fill every free moment, or will I allow myself to sit in the silence and quietly wait before God, remembering the real reason for this season? My natural inclination is to fill every moment of every day with movement. Run here, visit friends there, last minute shopping, appointments, workouts, activities for the boys… Though each of these things are good, when my days are without pause, they tend to pass me by. If I have built in spaces of silence, I am more reflective, and remember how remarkable my Savior is, and how all of my hope is held in Him. He brings to heart and mind the ways in which He has been my help and my hope, and shows me how I can encourage, love and care for others. If I don’t take pause, I may miss all that He has for me during this most wonderful time of the year. May we all make time to wait quietly before God, and recognize that our hope is found in Him.

 

On a silent night,

Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

image by Diana Lovegrove

in a stable bare;

came the still small cry,

as hope filled the air.

For the baby born,

came to save the lost;

little did they know,

what our sin would cost.

This Love that came down,

hope for all mankind;

that would save the lost,

give sight to the blind.

May we choose to wait,

quietly before;

the Lord of all hope,

Christ, whom we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make Yourself known to us in quiet stillness, and that we can place our hope in You. Thank You that You are present when we draw near, and You remind us of who You are and how You love. Forgive us for getting caught up in the chaos that can come this time of year, and for not making time to wait quietly before You. Teach us to slow down and sit in Your presence, so that we might recognize the hope that we have in You. Show us how to love, encourage and bless all whom we encounter as we go about each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, and place all of our hope in You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

 

Where Are You?

But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” – (Genesis 3:9)

 

After Adam and Eve had sinned and eaten of the fruit in the garden, they recognized their nakedness and hid in their shame. God, despite His knowledge of their wrongdoing, still desired to have fellowship with them. Their sin broke the close relationship He had created them to have, but Jesus came and created the way for our fellowship to be restored to what it once was. God so loved, that He sent His Son. His sacrifice supplies us with His unconditional love. Though our natural inclination, like Adam and Eve’s, is fear, (as not one of us can live up to His standards), we needn’t be afraid as we are loved and received regardless of our faults, because we are covered and claimed by the blood of Christ’s sacrifice. Let us rise up in confidence to answer His call, and go forth in all He has prepared for us to accomplish in His Name.

 

It’s hard to believe,Where Are You

the great Lord of all;

wants time with just us,

to answer His call.

He opened the way,

to mend and restore;

to heal the broken,

through Christ, we adore.

He makes way for us,

to come close, be near;

as we seek His face,

His Spirit is here.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in relationship with You. Thank You that even though it is in our very nature to blow it, You made the way to restore us unto Yourself. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to enter into a close relationship with You, despite our brokenness and our faults. Thank You that You love us as we are, and You make us more like You as we invest our lives in pursuing You. Forgive us for thinking that we have to somehow measure up, or for taking Your grace for granted. Teach us to keep our eyes and hearts securely fixed on You, so that we have a proper perspective at all times. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we give and receive Your love. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Giving Out of Gratitude

image by Matt Beaty

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” – Matthew 10:42

“How much we love God can be measured by how well we treat others.  Jesus’ example of giving a cup of cold water to a thirsty child is a good model of unselfish service.  A child usually can’t or won’t return a favor.  God notices every good deed we do or don’t do as if He were the one receiving it.  Is there something unselfish you can do for someone else today?  Although no one else may see you, God will notice.” – (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

To give with no expectation of return, is to love as Christ loves us.  The motivation in our heart is what matters most.  If we reach out in love and offer what is needed to another, it is as if we are applying that action to the Almighty, Himself.  He sees and He knows what we do on His behalf.  Do our actions reflect our Risen Lord, or do they wreak of expected return?  We are called not to give so that we can get, but instead so that others may come to know the great grace of God.  What simple acts of kindness can we offer, be it in our lack or in our abundance?  A kind word, a gentle touch, a helping hand?  Though such things might not be our natural inclination in every circumstance, each time we choose to act in love, we are allowing His light to shine through us.

Grace grows as we give it away.

Rather than concerning ourselves with whether or not there is gratitude from the recipient of our actions, shouldn’t we instead be grateful for the resources we have be given to do anything outside of ourselves?  If we can move, we ought to give Him praise.  If we can speak, we ought to say what He says to us.  If we have breath, we ought to give thanks with every breath we breathe.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite our inability to return the great grace and very gift of life that You have given to us, that You accept and receive our every offering of compassion and kindness that is extended to another as if it were done unto You.  Please forgive us for our blindness to the abundant need around us, and for our selfishness that sees extending ourselves as too costly.  Teach us to trust so that we may give as we have been given – lavishly, lovingly, and without limits.  Let our every offering lend Your light to dark places, and may it provide hope where hope has previously been lacking.  May You be clearly seen as we live out our lives with open hands and hearts, willing and ready to reach out to others as You have done to us.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present