Nothing has done greater damage to our Christian testimony than our trying to be right and demanding right of others. We become preoccupied with what is and what is not right. We ask ourselves, Have we been justly or unjustly treated? And we think thus to vindicate our actions. But that is not our standard. The whole question for us is one of cross-bearing. You ask me, “Is it right for someone to strike my cheek?” I reply, “Of course not! But the question is, do you only want to be right?” As Christians our standard of living can never be “right or wrong,” but the Cross.
Watchman Nee “Sit, Walk, Stand”
Recently I had a very difficult confrontation with my ex-husband.
Originally I wrote a blog that shared what had happened in hopes that I could “help” someone else who was dealing with an ex-spouse who says mean things. But I realized that my intent was not simply to help someone, but also to vindicate myself in a sense. I knew that I was right and dang it I was gonna make sure that everyone else knew it too…including my ex.
I want my ex-husband to own it. He will not.
Maybe he can’t.
Again I have realized that…
It’s not my job to convince him that his actions were wrong. In fact, I should not try.
But what is my job? I mean, in these circumstances, what do I do?
I’m reminded of this verse from Micah. I know that it was written in response to Israel asking God what they should do…God’s response is that they should already know. And in a sense, I feel that I do know, even though I continue to ask the question.
In this verse God again shows Israel that He is not pleased by empty rituals or liturgy, but rather by justice, kindness (mercy) and humility.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
I gotta be honest and say that I’m not sure about the “do justice” part…because my idea of doing justice is probably not exactly right. Sometimes, like during that confrontation, I want my ex-husband to feel the weight of justice landing a right hook on his jaw.
THAT is NOT right.
According to Strong’s concordance another word for justice is “rightness”.
Rightness. Hmmmm…as much as I want to say, “See, that means I need to be right!” I believe that a more accurate definition would be that I need to act right. And acting right and being right can be two very different things.
God wants me to act in a way that brings Him glory…not me. I so want to vindicate myself and make things right…my definition of right. (It’s amazing how many times that word is coming up in this blog!)
Sue’s definition of right: … I’d write it but it’s wrong anyway.
AND, in beginning to attempt to write it I realized that I’m still trying to make my ex-husband’s actions known and despised.
Still trying to be right.
Maybe doing justice for me means that I trust that God is going to deal justly with this situation. Maybe it means that I act more Christ-like and less Sue-like. Maybe it means that I don’t strive to be right, but I strive for peace.
I will be praying about this, because I know that God is showing me what He wants me to do, but I gotta be honest and say that I’m not feelin’ it yet.
I will pray.
And I know when I pray God is going to reveal how often His justice in my life has been tempered by His grace and mercy. That were I to feel the left hook of justice hitting my jaw…well, let’s just say, it would be deserved but not appreciated.
Thankfully, He will give me the grace, the strength, and the ability to do all that He has called me to do with justice, mercy, and kindness.
Praise God that He will always be right…and His right is always best.
5 thoughts on “Being Right and Other Wrongs”
I can honestly now say that God always provides justice in these situations, especially with His own. But it is never at a time when we are waiting for it. No, God squares things away when the one offended has moved on and the offender one day wakes up in a situation where they experience great regret and sadness. I have experienced it so many times and seen it plenty. And when it happens the offended will most likely cry along with the realization.
Think about Jacob and Leah and Rachael. Jacob was received what he gave and then Leah was honored in the end despite sad circumstances. She had many children and was buried in honor with Jacobs family. Also she was able to live the rest of her life with Jacob after Rachael died. Ideal? Never. Would the story have been better if it said Jacob realized how he was wrong in his unlove, but we don’t hear that, but we do see victories for Leah…the one who was treated like second fiddle, chopped liver, etc.
In my own life, my sons dad now regrets his actions but only after so many years. My point is, your ex will own this one day. He will feel the full weight of his sin. Pray for him therefore.
I too struggle with my now Ex wife “owning it”. I don’t hold back from telling others of her infidelity and “unbelievable actions” toward me. I don’t know if it helps me heal or not but I want everyone to know that I would have done anything to save my family and its “not my fault”. I was listening to Jack Graham today, basically he said put things behind you and get on with living a happy spiritual life, he’s dead on right. I think holding on to the things she’s done and is doing to our family will harbour resentment that will turn into bitterness which will eat away at me spiritually. I’m trying and praying to practice what a pastor told me would be the only thing I could do to heal from this ordeal but it would be the hardest. He calls it his “KFC recipe”. I have to be kind, forgiving and compassionate towards her in order to heal. Boy was he right! It’s very hard to do when the woman you loved, was married to for 15 years and gave me 4 beautiful children has done this to our family and is so bitter and vindictive to me. God bless everyone that is going through this.
This is a hard word, but a good one. The thing I struggle with is waiting for God’s justice. My husband left us a year and a half ago now, and I look to the future and think that this will never go away. I will have to deal with him and his destructive and hurtful behaviour for the rest of my life. Sometimes the unfairness of it all, the sense of injustice, and the awful pain take my breath away. Is there any hope beyond the passing of time to blunt the pain? I read this entry, and see that you are four years into this and it is still a struggle. Is there hope for peace, if not justice?
I just finished your book a few days ago and our stories are so alike. My husband of 18 years has left me with our 5 children. He is not living with her but is still seeing her even though he has lied about it for well over 2 years. ( I just found our about 4 months ago) yet he continues to lie. I so wish you lived close by Im sure we could talk for hours. Thanks for your book and your blog. They are encouraging me and realizing I’m not alone. I’m sorry that you faced this as well.
@Lisa, I wanted to address your question about whether there is any hope for peace. After 15 years of marriage my ex left 6 years ago to pursue one of his many internet affairs. I’ll admit that the pain was awful, and I was angry, resentful, and bitter on my own behalf for a very long time. I was afraid it would never get better, but in the last 2 years I’ve really come to peace with the hurt that was done to me, and have realized what a broken man he is, and have been able to forgive him. But on the other hand, as my kids have grown and gone through different stages of development and had different needs, the majority of the resentment I’ve felt has been on their behalf. It’s like the grief has come in two parts – at first for myself and our marriage, and now for my children and what they’ve lost. This anger feels more vindicated because it’s a “righteous anger” – like a mamma bear, but that doesn’t mean it’s right and I should allow it to fester. But I am trying to understand it as just a different phase of the grief process, and I find myself feeling strangely sorry for my ex sometimes because he is missing out on knowing some really great kids.