Friday, February 24, 2012

Vindication

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Psalm 135:14
14 For the LORD will vindicate his people
   and have compassion on his servants.
Jeremiah 11
 18 Because the LORD revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing. 19 I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying,
   “Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;
   let us cut him off from the land of the living,
   that his name be remembered no more.”
20 But, O LORD Almighty, you who judge righteously and test the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance upon them,
   for to you I have committed my cause. 


 I sat here this morning trying to figure out what to write. I sat here and was completely inspiration-less - I had a few ideas but nothing was really grabbing me.   It was suggested that I write about dealing with men and how duct tape is a powerful tool. (I am the only woman in a household of men and boys.) I suspect I probably do have a bit of insight in that department.  There was however a conversation with my husband regarding a situation he was dealing with at work. He felt the other party needed to apologize. It made me think about how is a believer we are to respond when others accuse us of something they did not say or do. I guess I have pretty strong opinions on this subject. I think Jesus should be our example.  It is perhaps a good topic to look at as we move closer to Easter and remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Are there things that he did that we might learn from and apply to our own lives.

Luke 238 When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. 9 He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate.

Jesus was silent. He did not try to explain or vindicate himself while the chief priests and teachers of the law were vehemently accusing him. 
 
 Acts 8:32 b “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

In Matthew 5 Jesus says 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

There have been a couple of times that I can remember when I have been publicly accused, it was very painful to feel so completely miss understood. To think that someone would publicly try to shame or correct me. In those instances I looked to Jesus to be my example. Rather than running around trying to explain myself or sending out e-mails to set the record strait. I talked it over with my pastor at the time and his advise was to be silent and allow Jesus to vindicate me, which was the same conclusion I had come to on my own. So in both of those cases I followed the example of Jesus and was silent. I spent my time praying and working through forgiving those who had wronged me. Where I was guilty of some points I repented. What God did was pretty amazing. The people in one case who had received the slanderous e-mails, knew me and my character they rose up and vindicated me. They spoke up on my behalf and went about setting the person strait. While that experience was extremely painful it was also a great blessing because we often do not realize the effect our lives and influence has had on other people. It was amazing to me because it was not just a couple of people but many who were moved enough to speak up on my behalf. Others were silent but I know they prayed. In the other incident I really had made a poor decision but even in that people stood up for me and stood by me. I think it is because I have sown seeds of standing by others and accepting and loving them in their brokenness and through the consequences that I was shown great amounts of grace. I am always reminded that it is His kindness that leads us to repentance. God in that case did help me to see what I had justified in my mind and to realize I had handled that situation in a way that was less than his standard of how I as a mature believer should have behaved.  


I have learned to be open an honest before the Lord in what I have tried to do right and in the places where I know I have made poor choices. He has been very gracious and patient to help me work through those areas of weakness in my own life. We all have things that push old buttons and cause us to try and fill a need in our life in a way that is not the Lords best. We have all been guilty of taking matters into our own hands when we should have given the situation to the Lord and allowed him to work on our behalf.  I have learned to be silent when accused and to allow the Lord to vindicate me. So my challenge to you is to take your case to the Lord - don't try to champion your own defense before those who accuse you or those who have heard the accusations against you. Take it to Jesus.


I think in those cases there is also an opportunity to identify and better understand how Jesus must have felt to have the very people he had come to help vehemently accusing him. Though those times I gained a greater understanding of the sufferings of Jesus.

Prayer
Dear Jesus,
In every situation there are things that we could have do or have done better. Help us to see where we have fallen short and to repent and to do what we can to make things right. Help us also to forgive. You have forgiven us of so much and as your followers we should become quick to forgive and to extend grace to others. Lord for those who need to be vindicated, I pray you will help them to trust you and to be silent and allow you to be their shield and their defender.  You are able to manage even the darkest most painful situations if we will turn to you.
 

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