Why Not Rather Be Wronged?
I came across a passage in my Bible that surprised me and now it won't leave me alone? Has that ever happened to you? You see something for the first time and then you see it EVERYWHERE!?!? These few short words and all their many implications are doing a steady work on my heart. Here they are:
The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already.
Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 1 Cor. 6:7
In this passage Paul is calling out believers who are bringing law suits against one another "to[their] shame." I can understand his counsel to bring their issues before church leadership as opposed to the court room, but the words "Why not rather be wronged?" have haunted me. Why not rather be wronged? Um...because it goes against every fiber in my being that longs for justice. We long for life to be fair - at least when the scales of justice benefit us.
My Sunday School teacher, Rick Kramer, used to always say, "You don't want fair - you want mercy." So true. When we view our lives in light of the gospel we are quick to set aside our cravings for justice. When the wages of our sin is death, we no longer want what we deserve.
The Bible has much to say about defending the rights of others but when it comes to "looking out for number one" our example is Christ who laid aside His rights for us. Why not rather be wronged? Because there is something better than fair - there is love.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!"
It has only just occurred to me that in order to take up our cross we have to first lay down our rights. This is shocking. This is upside-down. This is not fair - this is better than fair. But this type of thinking requires a high view of God and a right view of ourselves.
"If your treasure - the thing of highest worth - is yourself, you must guard it with all your might. You won't let anyone speak down to you, you'll demand only the best, and you'll be intolerant of others not meeting your standards or expectations. You will speak your mind whatever the cost because your treasure is you. But if Christ and His holiness is your treasure, if you are humbled by how great He is - how amazing is His grace to save you - no one can steal your worth. The same grace that bent to redeem us makes it possible for us to bend in meekness to others." - Ruth Chou Simons, from her book Gracelaced
I am only beginning to understand this teaching. "Why not rather be wronged?" may not apply to all situations and circumstances, but I am certain it applies to all of mine. I am asking the Lord to finish what He has begun in my heart. I want to bend in meekness but I don't yet know how - He can teach me and He can teach you too.
May we live justly (in how we treat one another), love mercy (as we remember God's mercy toward us), and walk humbly with our God (laying down our rights as we follow the example of Christ). And next time we are tempted to tantrum, "It's not fair!" remember, we don't want fair, we want mercy.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8