This is a tough spiritual work of mercy to practice. I don’t know about you, but I don’t bear wrongs well whether they are real or perceived. While in a certain sense “justice” appears to say that we should return evil for evil, God does not want us to base our actions on what the world says. He desires that we be “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
As I age, thank God I am mellowing with age. I reflect on wrongs done to me in the past in a different way. We don’t and can’t possibly know all the context of the person who wronged us. I am not excusing it but just saying I don’t know enough to judge and take justice into my hands. And it is certainly time to forgive!
God has forgiven me so much, how can I not reciprocate! We need to battle our inner tendencies and seek the “high road” that leads to salvation. “Bearing wrongs patiently” is so very hard to do; sometimes it seems impossible!.
But that is exactly what our Savior asks me to do. Jesus asks nothing of us that He has not already given! From the cross, Jesus prays to the Father, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Mt 6:14-15). The reality is that Not forgiving does nothing, nothing whatsoever about defeating evil or establishing justice but only leaves us with a tortured heart and threatens our eternal salvation.
Jesus had much to say in regards this spiritual work of mercy. “You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if anyone would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthew 5:38-41)
People live in a fantasy world which imagines that cursing at a computer screen or TV will somehow affect the actions of bad bishops, abusive clergy, police, prosecutors, politicians, criminals, and Islamic radicals. Refusing to let go the rage is a perfectly worthless act and only destroys your own heart.
The command to bear wrongs patiently is, quite simply, the command to die to yourself. “Not my will but yours…” It’s contrary to every impulse of our fallen human nature. It’s like a lamb led to the slaughter…. It’s like being asked to imitate Mary, the Mother of Sorrows and her Son Jesus, who bore our wrongs patiently all the way to His death on a cross.
It is on Golgotha alone, that we can find the grace and help from God necessary to bear wrongs patiently. Only there do the sins of evil men meet their decisive defeat. Only there are the powers of Hell turned into the glory of God.
Bearing wrongs patiently is a work of mercy that is only possible with the help of Christ, crucified. Pray as if everything depends on God and act as if everything depends on you. If you are having trouble bearing wrongs patiently, then do what you can to draw on the grace of God where it can be found. PRAY!!!
“Lord Jesus, your love conquers every fear and breaks the power of hatred and prejudice. Flood my heart with your mercy and compassion that I may treat my neighbor with the same favor and kindness which you have shown to me. Lord Jesus, may I see as you see, may your words be my words, and may my love for you be never ending”.
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