Week 37 Wednesday

Not An Option

Today’s scripture selection: Psalms 108-110

Key verses: Psalm 109:1-4

There are some, too many, who thrive on a little thing called revenge.  We hear it all the time…

  • Man, just wait until I…
  • I can’t believe they did that!  I’m going to…
  • Oh, yeah, well “pay-back’s a….”

You know it.  You’ve probably felt the sting of someone “getting you back” whether you “deserved” it or not.

And we learn such things very early on.

Just ask any kid in fourth-grade about “pay-back” – they know it all too well.

The Psalmist knew about it too.  After all, revenge is nothing new.  The complaint is real and heartfelt:

“My God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for people who are wicked and deceitful have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues.  With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause.  In return for my friendship….”

You can almost finish the sentence for him.  “In return for my friendship, this is what I get.  Well, just wait until I…”

But that’s not how the sentence ends.

In the Scriptures it ends this way:

“In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.”

I think the Psalmist is doing more here than just saying why he doesn’t deserve what is happening.  I think there is a hidden gem of spiritual counsel here.

It’s that he cannot make revenge his priority, exactly because of who he is.  Instead, he can only cry out to the God of justice about the injustice – and leave it all in God’s hands.

It’s hard to do.  But…

For the man or woman of God, there simply is no other option.

Prayer: Lord, in a world that can be so unjust, help me to leave such matters in your hands, remembering my own imperfections and failures.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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