I Have Been Wronged
Every neighborhood has them, those people who carry around a spirit of grievance. “I have been wronged,” they say. They develop a self-pitying, complaining spirit.
They are waiting for those who have wronged them to come and make their wrongs right. And until that happens, they sulk and complain. Perhaps they will not come to church; if they do come, they will not carry any responsibility. They may refuse, in their condemnation of others, to participate in communion. They withhold their financial support. As the years go by, their attitude becomes hardened into a personality trait. They become known as people who carry a grudge for something that happened years ago.
The story of almost every division in church history features people who felt that in some committee decision, some church action, or some bishop’s ruling they had not been treated right. “They took away my office. They said things about me that were not true. They gave me no chance to present a defense”—so the complaints run.
Every brother who has served on a committee to adjust any church difficulty knows how the story goes.
Yes, there are injustices in human relations, and, since all men are fallible, these injustices may occur in church relationships. Most people have been wronged at some time or other, or at least think they have been. So the man who has been misused is not suffering any solitary misfortune.
This is not to justify the giving of offense. Jesus said that offenses must needs come, but woe to that man by whom they come. However, when a stone of stumbling is thrown our way, it is sensible and Christian to refuse to stumble. He is a foolish man who insists on stubbing his toe just because there is a stumbling block in his path.
Life is too short to let any of it be spoiled by moping and despondency. If we have been wronged, we quickly forgive and forget, and go on our way. One does not have to wait until the offender apologizes. He should apologize, but if he does not, it is his loss. Let us not warp our souls by an unforgiving spirit. Love does not care to keep books on evil.
The wrongs we suffer can be a means of making our characters more holy and more beautiful. And so the people who wrong us may actually be doing us a favor.
And what a testimony to the world it is when Christians refuse to hold grudges! Any worldling can cherish a hurt; many of them do. But only a Christian, one who is like Christ, can live above being hurt. Imagine Christ on the cross saying, “I have been wronged!” Of course He had been. But He turned His being wronged into the world’s redemption.
And regarding forgiveness, Jesus said in Mark 11:26, “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
And again in Matthew 6:14–15, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
These Scriptures are positive and weighty. Let us further picture in our minds our Savior on the cross, who was despised, rejected, and wronged, but gave us this wonderful example when He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Perhaps someone reading this cannot name one person who has ever wronged him. God bless you! You have just forgotten it, as God wants you to do. No true follower of Christ says, “I have been wronged.”
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