When the World Doesn't Understand

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Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise; For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause. . .For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust. My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness. I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads. Help me, O Lord my God: O save me according to thy mercy: That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, Lord, hast done it.
— Psalm 109:1-3,22-27

David and I have a lot in common.  He was easily swayed by his emotions as am I.  He messed up in some pretty big ways, and I have too.  He truly wanted to live his life for the Lord, but sometimes his “want to” and his “know how” didn’t see eye to eye.  And, as we see in the passage above, David understood all too well what it was like to do the right thing and be despised for it.  Unfortunately, I now know that pain as well.

In our attempts to find a good home for Barnabas, I thought it would be a good idea to reach out to fellow dog-lovers, particularly those who love pit bulls.  So, I joined a couple of “pit bull lovers”groups on Facebook and described our situation.  I felt if anyone would understand what we’re going through and be able to give helpful advice and suggestions, it would be these people.  Boy, was I wrong!

I cannot even tell you some of the things that were said to me because I do not use such language.  To hear most of the people within these groups talk, I was more evil than Satan himself for even thinking about giving away my dog.  I was ridiculed.  I was called every name under the sun.  Some even stated it would have been better for Barnabas if we had never adopted him because we’re such horrible people.  I was not prepared for such an onslaught of animosity, and my heavy heart could not bear it.  I dropped out the groups, refusing to read another single post.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.  After all, most of those people probably were not saved, and the world simply cannot understand why any sane person would give up their home, family, and yes, dog, to go to another country to tell others about Jesus.  It doesn’t make sense to them.  In their minds, there’s nothing greater than living the American dream (or the equivalent to that in other countries around the world).  They don’t understand that there’s something out there bigger than themselves and their happiness.  They’ve never tasted the grace of God, so they cannot comprehend why we would give up everything to tell others about it.  To be honest, on my tougher days, I have to remind myself why we’re doing what we’re doing.

But even though I know we’re doing a great work, it’s difficult when others look down on us because of it.  It’s hard to be ridiculed and thought a fool.  It’s discouraging when people demean our efforts to be the best person we can be and accuse us of being cold and uncaring.  Like David, I took my pain to the Lord, and I poured out my heart.  That’s when God directed me to Psalm 109, particularly the last couple of verses.

I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude. For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.
— Psalm 109:30-31

No, the world may not understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, but God does.  And He will stand by us and save us from those who are condemning us.  He may not shelter us from the insults, but He will give peace and blessed reminders that any work done for Him is a good work and will be rewarded.  We’re not alone.  The world may mock and criticize, but it doesn’t matter what they think.  All that matters is what God says.  And with that in mind, I can worship and praise Him for all He’s done and all He will do.  And then, I can follow God’s leading and help the world to understand, one soul at a time.

Who Is the Judge?

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 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the Lord; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be before the Lord continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth. Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.
— Psalm 109:14-16

Psalm 109 is rough! David is writing about the wicked, specifically about those who had lied about and mistreated him, as well as those who refused to show mercy to the poor and needy. Read through the entire chapter, and you’ll get an idea of just how angry David is. He is sick of the wicked getting their way. He’s tired of them rising against the good people or those who are helpless. And, in short, he wants God to make their lives—and the lives of all their family and generations to come—miserable. Here are just a few things He asks God for:

 • Let him be condemned (v. 7)

 • Let his days be few (v. 8)

 • Let his children be vagabonds (v. 10)

 • Let neither him nor his children find mercy from others (v. 12)

 • Let their name be blotted out (v. 13)

 • Let their sins not be forgiven (v. 14)

 • Let them not even be remembered (v. 15)

 • Let him be cursed (v. 16)

Yikes, David! I get that he’s been done wrong and that he’s angry to see the innocent mistreated by others, but what I see here is a man in the flesh seeking vengeance for his enemies. If he were asking God to be the judge and to treat the wicked according to His judgment, that would be one thing. But, what I see is a man who has lifted himself as god and judge and said, “This is what needs to be done to them. I have spoken!”

Where’s the love? Doesn’t Jesus command us to love our enemies? In what way are David’s words seasoned with grace? I’m reminded of posts I often see on social media by those who, I assume, are trying to lead souls to Christ. But their posts are mean and ugly, nothing more than a shout of “Get right or go to hell. It’s your choice.” While technically the message is true, good grief, people! How are we going to win the world by pointing accusing fingers in their faces and acting like we’re mad at everyone? Why would anyone want to become a Christian if that’s what being a Christian looks like?

When it comes to sin, we need to be firm and unmoving. However, when speaking with sinners, we also need to be loving and compassionate, showing them the spirit of God within us. That’s what Jesus did. We don’t love the sin, but we should indeed love the sinner. And instead of praying for their cursing and unfortunate demise like David did in Psalm 109, we ought to be praying for God to touch their hearts and to show them the error of their ways. Our prayers ought to be for the salvation of the lost not for their condemnation. That’s why Jesus came to die! (John 3:17)

I want to point out a couple more verses in Psalm 109 and show you why we need to be careful how we treat the lost. After going through his rant of how God should punish the wicked, David goes on to say this:

But do thou for me, O God the Lord, for thy name’s sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me. (v. 21)

Help me, O Lord my God: O save me according to thy mercy: (v. 26)
— Psalm 109:21,26

Whoa, David! Did you see what he did there? It’s like he said, “God, deal with the wicked the way I see fit but deal with me according to your mercy!” Nice!

Here’s the question I have for David: what if someone had prayed the same prayer about the wicked with David in mind? After all, David didn’t always do the right thing, did he? What if the prophet Nathan, who confronted David about his affair with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah, had been so upset that he prayed to God for David to be cursed and cut off and not remembered and so on? How would David have liked it if God had honored such a request and told David, “No, sorry, I can’t forgive and forget your sin even though you’ve confessed it and tried to get it right because I’m acting on behalf of Nathan’s cry for justice”?

My friends, something is wrong in our spiritual walk when we want punishment for everyone else but mercy for us. Yes, I know, it’s easy to get angry with those who treat us poorly and to want God to “get them back” for what they’ve done. But easy isn’t always right! In fact, it’s seldom right. We are not the judge and jury. We are not God. While He longs for us to pour out our burdens to Him, He does not need us to dictate how He should carry out sentencing. That’s not our place. Our job is to make sure in our anger, we don’t sin ourselves by becoming bitter and vindictive. To end on a more positive note, God knows who the Judge is, and He will act accordingly. He even made this known through David’s writing in this very same chapter.

For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.
— Psalm 109:31

No doubt, David thought he was talking about himself and others like him as the victim when he wrote this final verse, but I believe God had a different message. He has come to save anyone whose soul has been condemned. Rich or poor. Young or old. Intelligent or not. God came to save all who would receive Him, despite how others have already sentenced them.

I don’t think David even realized he was doing the same thing he was accusing the wicked of doing—condemning their souls. Let’s be careful not to do the same. Speak the truth, yes. But do so with love and compassion. And pray for others the way you hope they’re praying for you. Heaven forbid we be treated with the same mercy we extend to others. Where would we be?