Have you ever been wronged and then punished for something that wasn’t your fault?
Recently I tried recharging my transportation card with 10 passes, the transaction seemed successful because at least my money was taken. What might have been a signal that something was wrong was the fact that I had requested a receipt and the machine did not disburse one which just made me assume that it was out of printing paper. Fast forward to two days later, I was hurrying to catch a train that morning, but my card wouldn’t work at the metro station. After arguing with the security on duty there, he let me go.
On arriving at the next station where I needed to switch to a different metro line, I walked up to one of the ‘controls’ (the state agents that make sure people have valid passes to go through the station. Simply put they are out to get offenders trying to cheat the state who are refusing to pay for their transportation), managed to explain my situation to him as I assumed that he might be able to help. I showed him evidence that my bank account had been debited in my attempt to recharge my transport card two days earlier. He got all my details then gave me a paper instructing me to direct my complaint to a specific address within 15 days. I thanked him and walked away but unknown to me I had just been fined 70 euros, in fact; the paper he had given me was a violation ticket.
Nevertheless, I still followed the control’s instruction of making a complaint but was simply told to pay the ticket. I tried pleading my case, but they said I had made my recharge on a faulty machine and should have known better. So, I eventually had to painfully part with 70 euros of my hard-earned money when the transaction money taken for the failed recharge had not been returned. I was however assured that the original transaction would be reversed.
My initial response upon finding out that I had to pay the fine was that I must take my money back from the government- I wanted a pay back. They are taking 70 euros from me for nothing so I must retaliate. Thank God that I quickly repented of my ill thoughts of ‘an eye for an eye’. Beyond being made to contribute the money to the public purse, carrying about anger and bitterness on that was not healthy for me and it would be an unnecessary burden.
I am sure you all can relate. When someone offends you it naturally makes sense to pay them back in their own coin. As tempting as this option seems, it is not what God expects from us. There are several verses of the scripture that speak to avoiding taking vengeance but rather waiting on the Lord to act on our behalf or rather lead us on how to react to injustice. One of the verses that speaks to me is Romans 12:17-19
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
In other words, it is better to leave the judgement to God if possible, in all situations, rather than setting out to fight a battle in our own way.
This instruction may not be easy, but we need to try and continually seek God’s help to let go if that is what he wants us to do. And the truth is we will be wronged a lot as long as we live in this world, so we have to learn to react in a godly manner when we have been offended. Because we will only be satisfying the flesh by taking vengeance that is not in accordance with God’s will and unfortunately be lacking peace on top of our sufferings from being wronged. Why not opt for God’s peace after facing any form of injustice? Let the Holy Spirit guide you through your journey as you don’t want to be alone – all by yourself.
Think about this, when we let God take control and we forgive others, such acts transform us and possibly those who watch God working in us. Mind you, forgiveness plays out in different ways depending on the situation, place and time which means forgiveness does not necessarily mean the absence of consequences. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you today as you consider forgiving someone.
Have a great month!