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Lent Devotional • Day 18

Day 18: Tuesday, March 22

Third Week of Lent: “Be Like Jesus in Dealing with Brokenness”

 

Today’s Truth that Transforms:

When Hurt by this World, Jesus Turned to the Father—Not Retaliation”

Scripture from John and Luke

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (Jn. 17)

33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (Lu. 23)

How are we “Transformed in Christ” and shaped to be more like Him?

Jesus was tempted while on the cross. We heard Satan repeat the temptation, as he had at other times, “If you are the son of God, come down from the cross. Save yourself.” There are even other tempting thoughts. “It’s not fair. You are giving your life for them, and they insult you, curse you and abuse you. Retaliate.” When hurt by this world, it is easy to listen to Satan’s suggestions and give in to our old nature. How did Jesus avoid that? He was filled with love for the Father and what His Father wanted. He was filled with His love for us. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” We can do the same. In Christ, we who have been forgiven so much can do the same for those who offend us. We can turn to the Father and pray for them instead of seeking retaliation. 

How do you see this “Truth that Transforms” working in your life? 

The following is an application story written by Alma Iwen. After you read it, ask yourself the same question. “How do I see this ‘Truth that Transforms’ working in my life?

In this world, we are all going to experience hurts of one kind or another. These hurts, whether physical or emotional, intentional or unintentional, are caused by those around us—family, friends, or even strangers. We all experience them. Jesus experienced them.

My natural inclination when I am hurt, especially when I feel that it has been intentional, is to retaliate, to hurt them back. This could happen in different ways: to fight back physically or verbally or maybe just give them the “silent treatment.” There have been times when I just internalized the hurt and berated myself somehow thinking that I deserved it. But I have found that these never resolved the problem and could actually intensify it. 

How does God want me to handle these times?  He wants to transform me to be more like Jesus and to do what Jesus did. He wants me to lay it all out before Him asking Him to give me what I need for that situation. What God shows me when I do this is different for each situation. But a common response involves forgiveness—either forgiveness of myself, for the other person involved or both. What He will show you will be different with each situation also. It may not be what you think you will hear from Him. It may not be what you think you want to do. But there will be a peace that comes with it. What He will show you will always be consistent with what the Bible says and will always be consistent with His character. Retaliation does not bring peace, but forgiveness does.

One example of this happened many years ago, and it is still fresh in my mind. 

When our son was 18 years old, he didn’t like the rules at our house and moved in with his girlfriend’s family. We were so hurt and angry about this, and we didn’t know what to do. I called the police and asked them if there was a way to make him come back home, but they said “No.” I was desperate because I didn’t know how to control this situation and cried out to God telling him just that. What He said to me shocked me. He said, “You are not in control. I am.” And I knew that I just needed to leave it to Him. He gave me a peace about it that I knew could only come from Him.