One of the greatest stresses in missionary life is the conflicts we have with fellow missionaries. How well David reflects our feelings of resentment in such situations. We want those who wound us to be wounded in return. We want justice and a little more. Pain for pain, hurt for hurt, wound for wound, justice must be done. Yet in the midst of our anger we know that resentment is harmful to us. It has been said, “Resentment is a cup of poison you pour for your enemies and drink yourself.” It is dangerous to sip and savor resentment, for it poisons our own soul. It steals our joy, makes us captive to our enemy and robs us of blessings God would have for us.
Resentment is one of the ugliest emotions a Christian can experience. In this psalm, David is in resentment’s grip and wants revenge. His kindness has been spurned, his love unreturned. Instead, those he has loved have stabbed him in the back. They are spreading lies about him, accusing him falsely and speaking hate. David is wounded, he is suffering, he is wasting away. The pain steals not only his happiness but even his health. The emotions well up inside David. He wants those who have hurt him to be hurt in the same measure, plus a little more. He calls on God to withdraw every blessing from his enemy and add every curse. He wants his enemy dead.
How then do we respond to people who have wounded us? David gives us some clues. First, take up your complaint with God. Express it clearly and passionately. Second, don’t take justice into your own hand. In the turmoil of his resentment, David turns to God. He does not take vengeance into his own hands. He pours out his heart to the God he knows is just and does justice. He surrenders his resentment to God. Resentment is to turn our attackers over to God. Let us remember the example of Jesus, who forgave his attackers. We are to forgive as Christ has forgiven us.
“But You, O Sovereign Lord, deal with me for Your name’s sake.
Out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.”
Prayer starter: Lord, I release ____________ (someone who has wounded you) into your hand. I relinquish my desire to hurt them for the hurt they brought to me.
About the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.” Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
This excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book “Refresh“. Lyndon wrote “Refresh“ specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.