Intentional Obedience and Deliberate Grace

Intentional Obedience and Deliberate Grace

I felt vulnerable, targeted, and attacked. I’d been secretly slandered, and I wanted to retreat. To hide in my room and self-protect. And for a while, I did, until God’s gentle Spirit nudged me out of hiding. More than that, He called me to healing. To a new level of freedom, and He landed me smack dab in the middle of conflict to do it.

Isn’t that just like God?

It was in the midst of chaos and betrayal that I most clearly experienced God’s love. That I learned to trust Him on a deeper level, surrendering to what He wanted to accomplish through my pain. During my prayer time, he reminded me that He’s sovereign, and that the sins of others can’t disrupt His plans for my life.

Unless I let them. But if I surrender to Him amidst the gunk, I’ll come out stronger for it. One morning, while wining to God about this injustice I had faced, He directed me to Romans 12:17, which says, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.”

Honorable. A person with integrity. Someone who isn’t reactive but rather behaves with intentional obedience and deliberate grace. That’s hard when we’ve been hurt, right? Our first reaction is often to self-protect, maybe even to lash out, but Philippians 2:5 says, in our relationships to one another, we should have the same mindset as Jesus.

So how did Jesus respond when under attack? Isaiah 53:7 says, “…as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth.”

“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.”

We’d be wise to do the same. Because sometimes, most times, it’s best to get out of the way and let God handle things. He tends to do a much better job than we, in our wounded state, ever would. More than that, we need to remember, as much as the event, whatever it was, hurt, God allowed it, and if He allowed it, He had a good reason. A hope-filled reason.

Trusting this to be true, and knowing God always and only allowed what’s for my best, I began to pray. I asked Him to show me what He wanted to teach me through this event. I learned I harbored a major weakness, a major flaw, that was hindering my obedience. Though I claimed to believe God’s opinion of me was all that mattered, I was living as if the opinions of others could define my worth.

In essence, I’d become a people pleaser, and this was getting in God’s way.

It was weighing me down. But God wanted to lift me up, and He used the wounds of a friend to orchestrate my first steps of freedom. Because I surrendered my hurt to Him and trusted Him to bring good from it.

I imagine you can relate. Everyone faces betrayal at some point. Everyone lands on the wrong side of a gossip mill. When that happens, our reactions say a lot about our character. Do we join in the fray, defending ourselves or lashing back, or do we trust God to bring good out of the situation? To use our pain to grow and in fact heal us, to bring us to a new level of freedom?

Let’s talk about this. How do you tend to respond when someone hurts you? How might remembering God is sovereign, loving, and intimately involved in your life help you maintain honor and integrity the next time you’re hurt? Do you have a story you can share of how God brought good out of a painful situation? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.

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Jennifer Slattery About Jennifer Slattery

Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com, is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, a ministry that exists to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com.

Comments

  1. Janet K Brown says:

    Love this post, Jennifer.

    [Reply]

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