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Hope When Life Is Unfair (5 of 14)
A People of Hope Series
I Peter 2:13-25
Have you ever bought a lemon of a used car, or have you ever sent away for a marvelous gadget for $19.95 displayed on TV on an infomercial, and ended up with something that was worth about 85 cents? Which of us hasn't been hood-winked by some smooth talking salesman? Who hasn't been burned by a glitzy ad campaign that promises more than it delivers? Who at some point in his or her life hasn't been taken advantage of or ripped off?
What is really difficult to endure is the kind of abuse or victimization that gets personal –
when someone slanders our reputations,
pulls the economic rug out from underneath us,
or even threatens our life.
It's hard enough to deal with the consequences of our own missteps, miscalculations and mistakes, but it's really unbearable to deal with something when it wasn't our fault or when we didn't deserve it.
If you've ever been treated like that, you're in good Biblical company –
David was ripped off by Saul;
Esau was duped by Jacob;
Joseph was misled by his brothers.
These things happen in life.
God ultimately uses all these circumstances for believers' good and His honor, but for all of us, it's hard to handle. It's unfair, we say – we don't deserve this.
There are three natural reactions to unfair treatment:
1. We blame others.
This reaction not only focuses on the person who ripped us off and keeps a running tally of the wrongs done against us – it also engineers ways that we seek to get back. It starts with the seed of resentments, germinates into revenge, and in the process nurtures a deep root of bitterness that tenaciously wraps around our hearts. When allowed to grow to full size, it leaves us determined to get back at every person who has done anything against us.
It's like the fellow who was bitten by the dog who was later told by his physician: "Yes, you do have rabi ...
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