The hurt was overwhelming.
When the hurt wasn’t throbbing quite so painfully, the anger and defensiveness took over.
I felt that I had been misjudged.
It wasn’t fair.
They didn’t understand.
I had been unjustly treated.
As my emotions vacillated between the hurt and anger, I knew Christ was trying to teach me something in the experience.
I just wasn’t too sure that I really wanted to learn.
We have all been there – drowning in the injustice of a situation. Whether it came about through a student, parent, administration, or family member, we know the feeling of being unfairly judged.
In my case, I wanted something or someone to show my accuser that they were wrong, and I was right. I wanted vindication!
But, of course, that’s not quite what God had in mind!
I should have known this was coming…after all, I had sort of asked God for it.
This past Christmas season, I had been really wanting to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Although I have never done Advent before, I had seen many neat ideas online. I decided to try it this year in my classroom to help us all look forward to the Savior’s birth. We would gather around our class Christmas tree each morning and read some of the Old Testament stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible. I loved doing this as the storybook is perfectly set up to illustrate how those stories showed the need and longing for a Messiah. I wanted to understand that longing and anticipate Christ’s second coming throughout the holiday season.
When I faced my own personal misunderstanding, I understood that longing a little better.
After all, if anyone knew about longing for justice and peace, it was God’s own people.
How they had labored under such cruel masters! How long they had clung to the promise given hundreds and hundreds of years ago that Someone would come to deliver them…yet as grandparents told the promise to their children who told it to their children and so on, it may have become little more than a fairy tale to them. After all, God had been promising this for about 700 years! Yet, here His people were, still under oppression. Still being mistreated. Still suffering injustice. Still no peace.
Where was their Savior?
The Savior that Isaiah had promised in his prophecy so long ago?
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
It was a verse I had heard every Christmas. It was a good Bible verse. It was typically on my Christmas bulletin board in the hallway. It was the prophecy of the birth of Jesus. It was in the Hallelujah chorus. It was just one of those verses that showed up a lot at Christmas time and everybody knew.
But this year, this verse was different for me. For the first time, Christ’s names really jumped out at me in light of what I had gone through.
The One who would give wisdom to me in dealing with this difficult situation.
The One who is almighty and all powerful. This situation seemed impossible, but He is a Savior that specializes in the impossible.
He is MY Father. He will always be my Father. He will never leave me or forsake me. He knows and understands the pain that I am feeling right now.
The Prince of Peace
He is the One who can bring peace. He is the One who can work in hearts on this earth to bring about peace, and He is also the One who will bring ultimate peace one day.
I began to understand that yearning God’s people felt in their hearts for This Promised One – the yearning for peace and a day when all would be set right.
Yet, when He finally came, they rejected Him.
He didn’t fit their idea of a Savior. He was meek. He came to serve. He got His hands dirty and spent time with sinners. No thank you, they wanted someone to come with swords blazing and free them from Roman oppression. Their narrow view of a Savior caused them to miss Him when He finally did come.
Oh, let me not make the same mistake! As I long for your second coming when conflict and misunderstandings will be no more, help me to keep my eye on the greater picture. This is not about making sure that I am proven right and justified before another party.
This is all about you.
When I am misunderstood or misjudged, it is a reminder that this world is not my home, that I cannot be satisfied here on earth. This earth and all who are in it are broken. It’s a reminder of why you came – to redeem this shattered, sin-sick world.
I am reminded that you know exactly what it is like to live in this unfair world. In fact, your entire life was spent being unfairly judged & misunderstood. You know and understand how I feel – in fact, you understand in a deeper way than I ever can because you were perfect and yet misjudged!
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrew 4:15)
I am reminded that you chose to voluntarily undergo the most severe injustice that has ever or will ever be served so that I, your enemy, might be declared righteous.
You suffered willingly, humbly, and lovingly.
When life isn’t fair, help me to remember that these situations are windows that allow me a glimpse into who you are and what you have done for me.
Help me to follow your example and respond in humility and love instead of pride and bitterness.
When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (I Peter 2:23)
Help me to not place my value in what others think of me, but to trust that you know the truth, and I can rest in that.
And thank you for bringing unjust treatment along throughout my life…because anything that makes me yearn for you is a good thing!