We face unfair treatment in our homes, schools, work places and even in our churches. One thing we should emphasise is that human beings are not perfect. Therefore, we will inevitably encounter unfair treatment and as Christians, we may face injustice simply because of our faith.
When we are unfairly treated we should count it all joy, despite the pain, anger, hurt, annoyance that we may experience. James 1:2 beckons us to count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds.
Unfair treatment challenges our faith and our conduct. Counting it all joy demonstrates our spiritual and physical maturity in handling trials. Throughout the bible we see many cases of unfair treatment; Jesus, his 12 disciples, Paul and Joseph are perfect examples of people that faced great trials but still remained joyful. When they were unfairly treated, they never retaliated or got angry, demonstrating their complete hope and joy found in God. When our hope and joy is in the Lord no matter how unfair we are being treated, even though we may be saddened and shaken by it, we remain strong because because our joy and hope surpasses every suffering.
However, when treated unfairly we shouldn’t be passive and just accept it, we need to be prayerful and seek wisdom on how to handle the situation.
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were unfairly treated and jailed. They weren’t passive about it. They prayed and God heard their prayers and set them free. In Acts 12 when peter was imprisoned, the earnest prayer of the people led to his release. Similarly, as believers we should pray to our God in times like these for help to overcome them.
Some practical advice:
1) Do not fight back
We shouldn’t revenge when we are being unfairly treated because vengeance is of the Lord. Look at Jesus’s response when one of his disciples cut of a servant of the high priests ear:
“And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:51, 52 ESV)
Jesus didn’t encourage his disciples to fight back in this scenario because fighting back worsens the situation. The drive for revenge is one of the contributors for the never ending wars of this world. Not fighting back doesn’t mean you’re weak, it shows you are wise.
Times of unfair treatment does not call for complaining, moaning or crying but it is a time to rise up and pray. James has a lot to say about this: “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” (James 5:13 ESV) “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”(James 5:16 ESV)
“Let the most natural breathing of your heart be Help, Lord!and Thank you, Lord! When Peter began to sink on the water, he cried, “Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30). The father of an epileptic boy cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Anywhere, any time, cry out to him. Live in his presence so that this is not an awkward moment. Speak to him often so that your conscience does not condemn you as a fox-hole Christian—only talking to God now and then to save your skin. He loves to save your skin, but he loves even more be your friend.” – John Piper
“The words of James 4:2, “You do not have because you do not ask,” do not mean, “You would have had anyway, even if you didn’t pray, since God had a plan and your prayers don’t matter.” “You do not have because you do not ask” means prayer causes things to happen that do not happen if the prayers don’t happen. This is breathtaking. And if you neglect this privilege—your participation in God’s moving the world—you are acting very foolishly. We pray because it is a staggeringly awesome” John Piper (http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/pray-like-this-hallowed-be-your-name)
3) Be like Jesus when unfair treated
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7 ESV)
We should imitate Christ when are treated unfairly, he is a perfect example of a man that suffered the most unfair treatment from the hands of mankind.
Brethren, let us count it all joy, pray, not fight back and be calm about unfair situations. God sees and knows everything that your are going through and He will see you through.
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