Tuesday, June 17, 2008

THE RIGHT TO BE WRONGED
...learning to trust God in the tough issues of life

-this is an encore presentation-

My mom is famous for her timely, pointed, pithy words of wisdom. One of those perceptive perspectives that has never left my thinking is this, "You have one right, Steve, as a Christian, and that's to have no rights." The truths of those words still ring profound today. I completely agree with her with one slight modifier - we do have the right to be wronged (1 Cor. 6:1-8).

Being in music ministry for over 30 years you hear all matters of talk about artists, authors, evangelical leaders - those who control the publishing and music industry of religious content, etc. this is a given. And now add to this mix the blogosphere; where anyone with a keyboard can become an excerpt on most anything just because they post - never mind if they are qualified to speak. Blogging daily and interacting with many in the blogosphere can be a place of real blessing. Sometimes it brings out excellent times for genuine ministry and discussion to take place and other times, all it yields is sorely behavior, name-calling, insinuations, ill-treatment, and unsupported-wide-eyed assertions from those that "think they are in the know." I have found that even when you are not responding to their childish rants, they will still rant about you or anyone who challenges them or disagrees with them. Soon, people are afraid to really express themselves honestly for fear of being vilified publicly. And for what? Just for offering another side to the proverbial coin. It is a godly exercise beloved to not respond with insult for insult; better to remain silent. It won't silent them, but you will be better for it and others will see this. Better to pray for them, and to learn again to die to yourself. I have been learning this again lately; and despite the less than Christian comments of others, I am blessed in God's providence to be in the crucible of grace being conformed to Jesus. It is not pleasant; it is painful; but all for our good and His glory. Amen?

You have to exercise practical wisdom on what you chose to believe and not believe about people and their failings; for everyone wants to feel like they have the latest word on the rumor mill. This unfortunately happens in the church too... doesn't it? What I am referring to the destructive sin of gossip; talk that has as its only purpose the determined underhanded demise of another. It is so conventional that among some Christians it could be considered a spiritual gift. Confronting eye to eye, an individual alone, is rarely if ever done in our day. Jesus' words in (Matthew 18:15-20) not just suggest, but demand you go to another privately before even uttering it to another publicly--and even then, it is to only two or three to help mend the breach. But here is the problem: we are marked by "itching ears" in our culture today; hungry for those little tidbits of juicy rumor, jealous of others, or trying to elevate yourself by constantly putting others down; rather than simply insatiably craving and living out the truth of God's Word.

THE TONGUE IS A FIRE
Have you ever been wrongly accused of something or just plain misunderstood? Have you ever had people gossip behind your back with false perceptions about your integrity or character? Have you ever biblically confronted a friend or family member in sin and been ostracized for the loving honesty? Have you ever stood for Christ in the work place and it cost you in reputation or promotion in a job? Even in the common ordinary day of our lives, it’s easy to become offended over trivial things, isn't it?. What’s worse, when we do get offended we end up savoring the bitterness, promoting ill will out of revenge to sooth our sagging pride or hurt feelings, conjuring up ways to “get even” with those who have wronged us, or possibly have spoken to others about it with no other motive or intent than to build-a-case to undermine the one who wounded us.

However, the sad and subtle quintessential way that we as Christians gossip about others behind their back is through... prayer. I call it the “gracevine.” How many times have you received a phone call, been stopped by someone in the market, or even gotten an email with something about someone that is gossip, but it is cloaked in the language of "I don't want to spread a rumor, but here is what I heard about "so and so" and I am onlyl sharing it with you so you can be praying about this person..." We are all guilty of this aren't we? I know I have. I have been both prey and perpetrator of wrongly speaking about someone else—possibly you too.

If you have ever been wronged or deeply hurt by another, what should our response be? How are we to react or most importantly… act? Paul warns against “bitterness, angry, wrath, evil speaking, clamor, and malice" from taking root in our lives (Ephesians 4:31). It grieves the Holy Spirit, causes fellowship to be broken between two believers in Christ, and a possible testimony to be scarred. Paul does exhort us to live in kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness with one another; "forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven us."

LET US CONSIDER CHRIST
Peter tells us, "when He was reviled against, He did not revile in return." When treated with scorn, beatings, and indignation "He did not retaliate." When spoken of wrongly and accused falsely of everything from being a drunkard, to the friend of sinners, to even being Beelzebub the chief of demons, "He uttered no threats." Even in the garden of Gethsemane the Lord said that He could have had twelve legions of angels (72,000 angels) at His disposal to fulfill His commands, yet He did not demand His rights, but "entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly."
""Keep about your work. Do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs; do not fool away your time chasing the devil’s rabbits. Do your work. Let liars lie, let sectarians quarrel, let critics malign, let enemies accuse, let the devil do his worst; but see to it nothing hinders you from fulfilling with joy the work God has given you. He has not commanded you to be admired or esteemed. He has not commanded you to get rich. He has never bidden you defend your character. He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood (about yourself) which Satan’s or God’s servants may start to peddle, or to track down every rumor that threatens your reputation. If you do these things, you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord. Keep at your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded and rejected, misunderstood, or assigned impure motives; you may be abused by foes, forsaken by friends, and despised and rejected of men. But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being until at last you can say, ‘I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do’." -AUTHOR UNKNOWN

LIVING IT OUT THIS WEEK - CONSIDER THIS:
First, if someone approaches you to tell you something about another person this week, ask the one telling you if they have gone directly to that person first, before they sin and repeat any matter to you. If they have not done so, don't entertain their story. Walk away, run if necessary. If they are not willing to go directly to the person they're talking about, then they are not motivated by God's love for that person, and their words should be treated as suspect or disregarded completely (Proverbs 20:19).

Secondly, if you have ought against someone go to that person immediately and privately to make things right. Out of our own pride or hurt and wounded feelings we will usually try and build a case against someone else to make ourselves look better or deflect attention away from our own issues. But it is sin beloved to do so. Even if you don't harbor ill feelings against someone, but you know that they have something against you, Jesus says to leave your gift at the altar, call them and seek to be reconciled (Matthew 5:23-24).

Thirdly, remember the great debt that God in Christ has forgiven you. Because of that you can forgive someone else the lesser offense. When we have a right view of our own sinfulness and a right view of what it cost our Lord to redeem our own sin soaked lives, we then can exercise grace and walk in forgiveness with another (Matthew 18:21-35). Revenge or "payback" is never worth it. If you are in the wrong, then be quick to admit your own wrongdoing; seek to be forgiven and to forgive. If you are wrongly accused: then don't be quick to defend yourself--humility is better served by going the extra mile and bearing the insults of another. Bless those who falsely accuse you and leave them to God.

Fourthly, "If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18). This means that to walk the worthy walk, we need to put on the godly character of longsuffering, patience, humility, gentleness, and self-sacrificial love (Ephesians 4:1-4) and put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, gossip and all malice (Ephesians 4:31-32) . I don't know about you, but that takes "a work of grace" in my life to walk that kind of walk each day. IOW, extend mercy where there could be offense; extend love where there could be hate; extend grace where there could be revenge; extend peace where there could be strife; and extend prayer where there could pride. "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:40-44).

Here are some of our "rights" in Christ:
  • you have the right to turn the other cheek
  • you have the right to be misunderstood
  • you have the right to be gossiped about
  • you have the right to go the extra mile
  • you have the right to persecuted for your faith
  • you don’t have the right to bitterness
  • you don't have the right to get even
  • you don't have the right to take matters in your own hands
  • you don’t have the right to gossip about others
  • you have the right to obey the Lord and not hurt others
  • you have the right to be wronged.

“The Right to Be Wronged”
by Camp/Frazier


These are the worst of times; the best of times
Finding poetry when the words don't rhyme
Willing to surrender, to the cruelty of another
Learning to sing an unfamiliar song
Choosing not to fight, we are
Learning the right
to be wronged

You never know what a day might bring
Life's an unpredictable, twisted thing
Some days you have to turn the other cheek
But there's strength in being meek

You don't have to be a doormat you know
But revenge just cripples the soul
All our vain reputations are dust in the wind
Better to show grace; better to let them win

I'm going to lay down my rights
Going to give up this selfish fight
I will submit with all of my might
To the right of being wronged

It's not easy to live this way
But joy comes when you trust and obey
There's freedom when you embrace
The right of being wronged

It's so hard to reconcile
But love always goes the extra mile
To forgive the ones you'd rather forget
Takes humility and love, again and again

I'm going to lay down my rights
Going to give up this selfish fight
I will submit with all of my might
To the right of being wronged

It's not easy to live this way
But joy comes when you trust and obey
There's freedom when you embrace
The right of being wronged


By His Grace and for His Glory,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

32 comments:

donsands said...

Excellent thoughts, and good exhortation for my heart to absorb. Lord help me to understand these things, and to honor You in having the right to be wronged. Amen.
BTW, I love the Fire & Ice quotes you have on this site. Very encouraging and convicting. Fire and Ice was my favorite LP you put out as well.

CAT said...

Amen & Amen. Around here we say "A dead man has no rights." because of what Romans 6:4 says, "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into his death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
I love the line in the song, "But there is strength in being meek." That is the same strength Christ had when he witnessed a good confession and opened not his mouth, but was as a sheep to the slaughter. By faith in His strength we truly can become a living sacrifice. He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through His Son Jesus Christ. Faith to stand still and see the SALVATION OF GOD. I have seen this over and over and I have to say with Paul, "Who is sufficient for these things?"

Bhedr said...

Wow! You've got a pretty mom:-)

Hey I guess I've been done made others upset as well as been upset, so theres no excuse for me to be patient.

I always need to be reminded of this. You have ministered here.

Bhedr said...

I meant to not be patient.

Good lyrics too!

Rob said...

I just came across this blog the other day. Thanks for this awesome post. What a reminder to keep our hearts right before God and with those around us. Thanks.

~Mark said...

Thanks for a great post! I've had this discussion a lot recently, sometimes with friends, sometimes with that guy in my mirror. Sure, we are free to do many things, but more free to avoid doing them!

:)

Shawn L said...

Wow Great lyrics and a great pride killing word for us today.

sally apokedak said...

"First, if you hear of something about an individual ask the person telling you if they have gone to that person first before they sin and repeat the matter to you. If they have not done so, don't even entertain their story. Walk away, run if necessary. If they won't go directly to the person they're "chatting" about should be suspect (Eph. 4:1-4)."

So I guess I want to ask you . . . have you gone to Steve Saint and asked him about the stuff you have in your side bar? You say "supposedly" Christian company as if you don't believe Mart Green is a Christian. And you say Steve chose Chad Allen as if he did so purposefully and with foreknowledge.

This is not true. It is gossip.

Gordon Cloud said...

Good word, Steve. One of the great paradoxes of the Christian life is that we win by surrendering. Man, the flesh sure does fight hard against that one!

Jesse said...

Thank you, Steve. This is a word in season to a weak and failing servant.

Alice said...

Excellent--Thank you for this. I was just listening to a sermon by James MacDonald from Philippians this morning on this very topic. He said, "Up with my rights = down with my joy." Then he had this awesome advice: "How many of our problems could be solved by this phenomenal piece of counsel: Get.over.it."

Lots of good stuff to apply to my life today!

gigantor1231 said...

S.J.

What sticks in my head is what Jerry Bridges said on this very topic, posted on your blog;

'We don't have any rights but we do have the Gospel.'

For that I will gladly relinquish all, and in so doing I will have all that is worth having!

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

Great thoughts, Steve.

Under the point on gossip, I would add the following suggestion: When appropriate, go straight to the source for verification.

I had someone (who I trust greatly) tell me something recently that was not about anyone in particular, but rather about something re: our church. They said someone had told it to them, and they were worried about it. As soon as our conversation ended, I immediately called one of my elders and just asked him point blank if it was true, and was able to nip the rumor in the bud!

God bless you, Steve. Have a great and godly day!

Brian

sally apokedak said...

Very strange. Someone wrote to thank me for my comment on Steve Camp's site. And I couldn't figure out what they meant since I'd not been on this site for a very long time. Not since the time that the movie, "The End of the Spear" came out.

So I came over to see what was going on and I see I have a comment in the comments here.

Someone is playing some kind of trick here. I didn't write the comment above today. If I wrote it, and I might have, I can't remember, I did it a long, long time ago.

Steve, if you could delete it, I would appreciate it. I liked today's post. I have no idea who you perceive to have wronged you and it doesn't really matter to me at this point. I simply don't like having someone post using my name like this. I didn't comment above and someone has, somehow, hacked into my google account and is posting using my name.

How did this happen? I agree I have the right to be wronged, but I also feel like it's important for me to protect my name and not have people posting using my name. I mean, good gravy, I have enough trouble trying to stay out of trouble for things I post, let alone having to take responsibility for things other people post.

Sally Apokedak (the real one)

Michele Rayburn said...

Dear "Sally Apokedak (the so-called "real one"):

You are the phoney.

The first Sally Apokedak on this blog *did* in fact post this comment. This post is what Steve calls an "encore presentation", meaning that he is reposting an old blog post together with the old comments, with new comments following it.

When you click on her name, she has a real profile with a real blog, and her profile says that she has been "On Blogger Since July 2004". Go check out her website.

You, however, the phoney "Sally Apokedak", have manufactured a phoney blogger profile which is totally anonymous. It says that you are "On Blogger Since June 2008, which means somewhere around today. And your so-called web page goes to kidzbookbuzz.com, which apparently has nothing to do with you.

Trying to give yourself a little credibility I suppose. But not with me.

You are right in saying, "I didn't write the comment above today.", because you didn't write it today or any other day.

Enough said.

Michele Rayburn

SJ Camp said...

Sally
No one has "hacked" into your google email account.

This is a repost from a few years ago that seemed to resonate then and I had received some interest from others here to post it again.

So, you may not remember commenting here, but you or someone with the same name, and not a common name, did and I thank you for posting then and now.

The entire Steve Saint thing concerning End of the Spear was very discouraging. BTW, Steve did know with foreknowledge about Chad Allen; and even members of his family were deeply disappointed over his affirmation of him to play his father in the film. That is fact - not gossip as you might have thought.

So whoever emailed you about your thoughts here was being genuine.

The blogosphere is a great reminder of how we were at a certain point and time and how we have grown since then.

Thank you again for stopping by.

Grace and peace,
Steve

KarensFaith said...

Thank you for this today. I have seen the damage gossip can cause, been guilty of doing it, been guilty of being spiteful to get back at someone and then having to go to them to apologize, which I always will do when I've done wrong. Sometimes I react before I think it through and pray about it. I hate this part of me and pray about that too, to do the right thing instead of giving in to my feelings and then doing wrong. This post today has helped me greatly. Thank you. I am fairly new here and am learning so much by reading here each day and then going into your archives and reading those too. God bless you!

Karen

SJ Camp said...

G man
We don't have any rights but we do have the Gospel.'

That really says it - thank you for the remembrance. Giving up all for the sake of the gospel is worth all our rights to receive eternal life. This what the Lord meant when He said, "deny yourself (come to the end of yourself); take up your cross (come to die and give up all rights to yourself); and follow Me (I alone have the words of eternal life).

Good word brother and thank you.
SJ

SJ Camp said...

Brian@VOS
Under the point on gossip, I would add the following suggestion: When appropriate, go straight to the source for verification.

Sound biblical wisdom my brother. Thank you. That is the point. If we talked directly to those that we either hear something about or have been guilty of speaking against, how much pain and ought against others could we have avoided?

I am trying to develop in this area by God's grace that my knee jerk reaction would be one of prayer first. To pray for the one spreading the information; to pray for the one that it is about; and to pray for myself that I would not be an instrument of gossip, but one of grace.

I appreciate you Brian and thank you for the excellent ministry you gave to the 2 Cor. 6:14 issue on your blog. Well done.

Steve

SJ Camp said...

karensfaith
I have seen the damage gossip can cause, been guilty of doing it, been guilty of being spiteful to get back at someone and then having to go to them to apologize, which I always will do when I've done wrong. Sometimes I react before I think it through and pray about it.

Excellent words and testimony Karen. I can completely identify with you. Have had it done to me; I've done it to others; and I too have failed to pray as I ought... How I appreciate God's grace in my daily walk and sanctification in Christ.

Good to have you post here.

Grace and peace,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Michelle
Thank you for your words here and for bringing this to my attention.

One quick caveat. The original comment with a link to "that Sally's" web page; if you scroll down a bit, you will find a side-banner ad to the kidzbookbuzz.com site.

My conclusion would be that it is the same person who didn't remember she originally posted here a few years ago on this article and has since moved on from her other site. I don't know.

One thing I do know, is how many people by the name of Sally Apokedak are there? I like unusual names and this one is highly rare.

So, will the real Sally please stand up? :-)

Grace,
Steve

PS - Great comments last week at another blog from the Word of God. Solid as a rock!

DaWildBoar said...

Steve
This is a calming post after last week's storm though its truth is very convicting.

Robert

Carla said...

It's sort of interesting to me that this subject of old comments came up in this thread, since just today when I saw this re-post (and it's a great one, always timely) I saw the old comments and sort of hoped I didn't see an old one of my own. (And then saw that I in fact linked to this post last spring in a rather long-winded post of my own, lol, gack).

The internet is a funny place that way, in that so much of what we express just never really goes away. I've been online a long time, and even much of what I wrote in different places prior to being saved, is still online. My own early writings as a new Christian are there too, and those are just as humbling as the unsaved writings.

The good thing about that is simply this, it's a testimony to God's incredible grace and faithfulness to keep stirring our hearts to grow and mature in Christ. While I still cringe when I read my own stuff from 10 or 15 years ago (and anyone else would too) in a very real way it's a milepost marker for where I was, and where He's taking me - and that's a great thing.

SJ Camp said...

Carla
The good thing about that is simply this, it's a testimony to God's incredible grace and faithfulness to keep stirring our hearts to grow and mature in Christ.

Bingo!

God is not finished with us yet... is He? He is able (Phil. 1:6). Some of my articles I look back on from three years ago when I started to blog and cringe at some ways I phrased certain points or expressed my concerns. It would be easy to just delete those articles and pretend they never happened. But that is part of my growth as well.

Listening to old CD's of mine has the same effect as well. I think all the time, "wow, I wish I hadn't recorded that one" :-).

Thanks Carla...
Campi

Michele Rayburn said...

My apologies for saying in my haste that Sally is a phoney. I should have said that she was just mistaken. But at first, I really did think it was someone trying to play a trick on you.

She appears to have made the first comment, but has apparently forgotten it. The first blogger profile clearly shows this if she had looked at it.

I just feared that someone was trying to delete her comment who wasn't actually her.

Just trying to guard the trust :)

In His Love,
Michele

sally apokedak said...

Thanks, Steve, for explaining. I am relieved that you reposted the comment and it was not manufactured by someone who had access to my password.


Michele, No problem. I can see how confusing the whole thing is. I have no idea why I have two blogger profiles. I do recall trying to comment on a blog recently and having a hard time getting in. I think I might have re-signed up or something. I wish everyone would use WordPress. Life would be so much easier.

Debbie said...

Oh, how difficult this is for me when those whom I love are carelessly wounded in this way by others. Nothing makes me bristle more quickly and it's in these very moments that I recognize my utter inability on my own to respond as I should.

But, I know His grace IS sufficient for me to "... extend mercy where there could be offense; extend love where there could be hate; extend grace where there could be revenge; extend peace where there could be strife; and extend prayer where there could pride." What a needful reminder ...

SJ Camp said...

Debbie
But, I know His grace IS sufficient for me to "... extend mercy where there could be offense; extend love where there could be hate; extend grace where there could be revenge; extend peace where there could be strife; and extend prayer where there could pride." What a needful reminder ...

Amen!

SJ Camp said...

Sally A
I am glad all is well and thank you for posting here again.

Perfect article for this to be worked out and to a peaceful and profitable conclusion.

Keep on,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

littlegal_66 said...

"Perfect article for this to be worked out and to a peaceful and profitable conclusion."

God's flawless timing and divine providence never cease to amaze me; weren't they beautifully illustrated here?

SDG...

Littlegal

Michele Rayburn said...

"Perfect article for this to be worked out..."

That's just what I was thinking! And we stayed on topic too!!

Steven & Faith Long said...

This unfortunately happens in the church too... doesn't it?

It certainly does. My family and I are going through it right now. I am really fighting against bitterness. Some pretty hurtful things were brought as accusations against us. Please pray for us. We certainly could use it.

Anyway, a very timely post.