Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let God Bring Justice into Your Life

Let God Bring Justice into Your Life
By Joel Osteen

God has promised if we will put our trust in Him, He will pay us back for all the unfair things that have happened to us. Maybe you were cheated in a business deal and you lost a lot of money. Maybe somebody lied about you, and that misinformation kept you from getting a promotion. Or maybe a good friend betrayed you.

Certainly, these kinds of losses leave indelible scars, causing you to want to hold on to your grief. It would be logical for you to seek revenge. Many people would even encourage you to do so. The slogan “Don’t get mad, get even!” is a commonly accepted principle in America today.

But that is not God’s plan for you. If you want to live your best life now, you must learn to trust God to bring about the justice in your life. The Bible says, “God is a just God and He will settle and solve the cases of His people.” That means you don’t have to go around trying to pay everybody back for the wrong things they’ve done to you. You don’t have to go around trying to get even with people. God is your vindicator. You need to start letting God fight your battles for you. Let God settle your cases. God has promised if you’ll turn matters over to Him and let Him handle them His way, He’ll make your wrongs right. He’ll bring justice into your life.

Somebody in your life may not be treating you right. They may be saying things about you that aren’t true, spreading vicious rumors, telling lies, trying to ruin your reputation, if you’re like most people, you are probably tempted to get in there and set the record straight. And you are probably tempted to let them have it!

It takes faith to believe that God wants to vindicate you, but He really does. Don’t make the mistake of sinking down to your offenders’ level, getting into arguments and fighting. That will just make matters worse. Leave it up to God. Take the high road, respond in love, and watch what God will do. If you will do it God’s way, He’ll not only fight your battles for you, but in the end, you’ll come out better off than you were before.

God Keeps Good Records

Sometimes God allows us to go through certain things to test us. If you have somebody in your life right now who is not treating you right, that situation may very well be a test of your faith. God is interested in seeing how you are going to respond. Will you become negative, bitter, or angry? Are you going to develop a vindictive attitude, always trying to pay people back? Or, are you going to turn it over to God, trusting Him to make the wrongs right? Are you going to pass that test so God can promote you?

Maybe your boss isn’t treating you right. You’re doing all the work, but it seems that you’re not getting any of the credit. Everybody else gets promoted in the company except you. You may be tempted to mope around with a sour attitude, with a poor-old-me mentality.

Instead, you need to keep a good attitude and start trusting God to make it up to you. You must understand, you are not working merely for that person. You are not employed merely by that company. You are working for God! And God sees every wrong that’s being done to you. God is keeping good records. He’s closely watching your situation, and He said that He’s going to pay you back. And friend, when God pays back, He always pays back in abundance.

When God wants you to be promoted, it doesn’t matter whether your boss likes you or not; your future is not dependent on what your boss does or doesn’t do. God is in control. The Bible says that promotion doesn’t come from the north, south, east, or west. In other words, promotion doesn’t come from your boss, your supervisor, or your company. No, true promotion comes from Almighty God. And when God says it is time for you to advance up the ladder, all the forces of darkness cannot hold you down. You will be promoted.

Moreover, God will not allow somebody to continually mistreat you. If you will do your part, keep a good attitude, and turn your circumstances over to Him, sooner or later God will bring justice into your life. Sometimes when we don’t see anything happening month after month, maybe even year after year, it’s tempting to become manipulative, to attempt to make things happen on our own. When we do that, we risk interfering with God’s plans and purposes, creating another mess for Him to clean up, and possibly even keeping God from doing what He really wants to do in that situation.“

But Joel, everybody is getting so far ahead of me,” Darla lamented.

“When is it going to be my turn? All my friends are getting married; everybody I graduated with is making big money and living comfortably; everybody is being promoted in my company except me.

You may have concerns similar to Darla’s, but understand, God is a supernatural God. One touch of His favor can make up any lost ground, plus give you so much more. One touch of God’s favor can bring the right person into your life or put you in charge of that entire organization.

I met a man not long ago who worked as a mechanic at a large diesel-truck shop where they serviced 18-wheelers. He told me that for many years he was not treated properly at his place of employment. It was an extremely negative environment, and his coworkers often made fun of him because he wouldn’t go out and party with them after work. Year after year, he put up with all sorts of injustice and ridicule. He was one of the best mechanics on staff, consistently one of their top producers, but for seven years, he never received a pay raise, he didn’t get a bonus, he didn’t get any sort of increase—because his supervisor didn’t like him.

That mechanic could have grown bitter. He could have quit and found work elsewhere; he could have developed a chip on his shoulder and gotten mad at the world. But instead, he continued to do his best. He worked hard and kept his mouth shut, knowing that God was his vindicator. He wasn’t working to please his supervisor; he was working to please God.

One day, out of the blue, the owner of the company called him. This owner wasn’t involved in the day-to-day operations, so the mechanic had never before met him. But the owner told him that he was ready to retire, and he was looking for somebody to take over the business. “I’d like you to have it,” the owner said to the mechanic.

“You know, sir, I’d love to have it,” said the mechanic, “but I don’t have enough money to buy your business.”

“No, you don’t understand,” replied the owner. “You don’t need the money I have money. I’m looking for somebody to take over the business. I’m looking for someone I can trust to continue the work I have started. I want to give it to you.

Today, the mechanic owns that company free and clear!

During our conversation, I asked him, “What caused that owner to call you?”

He said, “Joel, to this day I don’t know how he got my name. I don’t know why he chose me. All I know is that almost overnight, I went from being the lowest man on the totem pole to the person in charge of the whole company!” He laughed and said, “You know, Joel, they don’t make fun of me in the shop anymore.

Friend, that is a good example of God bringing justice into that man’s life. That’s God paying him back for all those wrongs. God settled his case. God made his wrongs right. And God wants to do the same sort of thing for you.

You may say, “Joel, that sounds kind of far out to me.

Understand, we serve a God who wants to do more than you can ask or think, it doesn’t matter how people are treating you. Keep doing the right thing; don’t get offended; don’t let them get you upset; don’t try to pay them back, returning evil for evil.

Instead, keep extending forgiveness; keep responding in love. If you do that, then when it comes time for you to be promoted, God will make sure it happens. He’ll make sure you get everything you deserve, and more!

Turn it over to God

The key is, you must turn it over to God. Let Him do it His way. The Scripture says, “Never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath.” Notice, if you try to pay people back, you are closing the door for God to do it. You can either do it God’s way, or you can do it your way. If you’re going to let God handle it, you can’t have the attitude of: I’m going to show them what I’m made of. That will prevent God from avenging you His way. If you want to keep that door open so God can bring true justice into your life, you have to totally turn it over to Him.

Somebody may be saying nasty things about you behind your back. Your attitude should be: No big deal. God’s got me covered. He’s going to make it up to me.

If somebody cheats you out of some money: No big deal. God’s promised me double. They don’t owe me anything. God, I’ll give it to them, because I know You can repay me with twice as much. I’m not going to worry about it; I release it right now.

If somebody invites all your friends out to dinner but they exclude you, your attitude should be: No big deal. God knows what I need. He will bring new friends into my life.

What a liberating way to live! When you truly understand that you don’t have to fix everything that happens to you, you don’t have to get all upset and try to pay somebody back for what they did or didn’t do. You don’t have to get worried or try to manipulate the situation. When you know that God is fighting your battles, and He has promised to make your wrongs right, you can walk with a new confidence, with a spring in your step, a smile on your face, and a song in your heart. You are free!

When you have that kind of attitude, you are leaving the door wide open for God to pay you back. And remember, God always pays back abundantly.

A few years ago, Victoria and I had somebody in our lives who really did us wrong in a business deal. This person didn’t keep his end of the bargain. He did some things that were questionable and ended up cheating us out of a lot of money.

Many times, Victoria and I were tempted to fight the battle in our own strength. We were tempted to want to pay him back and make his life miserable. After all, he made us suffer; why not make him suffer? It was difficult, but we had to force ourselves to do the right thing, which was to turn the matter over to God.

We said, “God, you see what’s happening. You know we’re being mistreated. You know that what this man is doing is wrong. But God, we’re not going to try to get even. We’re not going to try to avenge ourselves. We’re going to leave that door open, counting on You to make it up to us.

This process continued for several years, and we didn’t see any change. We had to keep reminding ourselves that God is a God of justice. God is going to pay us back for doing the right thing. God is going to settle our case.

One day, out of the clear blue, God supernaturally stepped in and turned that situation around. He not only moved that man out of our lives, but He paid us back in abundance for everything he had taken. Sadly, the man who tried to cheat us eventually lost his family, his business, his reputation - everything. And I certainly don’t wish that on anybody, but that, too, is the justice of God. You cannot go around continually doing wrong, cheating people, and sowing bad seeds and not expect it to eventually catch up to you. We will reap exactly what we’ve sown.

Victoria and I were recently discussing how much God has paid us back. I don’t say it arrogantly, but God has blessed us abundantly. He has prospered us through several real estate deals so we live in a lovely home and have all the material things we need. He’s blessed us with wonderful children and a fantastic extended family. He’s promoted us and given us positions of leadership. He’s done more than we can ask or think. But had we not learned how to pass those kinds of tests, I really don’t believe we’d be where we are today. If we had been stubborn and fought with the man who was doing us wrong, or if we had become bitter and angry, or held resentment in our hearts toward that man, God would not have promoted us.

If you will leave your situation up to God, in the end you’ll come out much better off. You will be far ahead of where you would have been had you tried to solve matters in your own strength. God can truly bring justice into our lives.

Maybe you’ve been working through a situation and you’ve been doing the right thing for a long time. You’ve been taking the high road and forgiving somebody again and again. You keep overlooking their faults. You keep biting your tongue when they are rude to you. You have kept a good attitude even though they have mistreated you. Perhaps this has been going on month after month, maybe year after year, and now you’re tempted to get discouraged. You’re wondering, Is God ever going to change this situation? Is God ever going to bring about justice? Does He even care about what I’m going through?

Don’t give up! Keep doing the right thing. God is building character in you, and you are passing that test. Remember, the greater the struggle, the greater the reward.

The Scripture says, “Don’t get tired of doing what’s right for in due season you shall reap if you don’t faint.” Don’t grow weary; God will bring justice into your life.

We must trust God to bring justice in His timing, not ours. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes you’re going to have to love somebody who’s unlovable for a long period of time. Sometimes you’re going to have to do the right thing when the wrong thing is happening to you, and it may be a long time before you see any kind of change. It may require a strong will on your part, and a determination to trust despite the odds.

When David was just a young man, he was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king of Israel. Not long after that, he defeated the giant Goliath, and he became an instant hero throughout the land. People loved him, and his popularity ratings soared off the charts. But King Saul, Israel’s ruler at the time, became extremely jealous of David and started doing all sorts of unfair things to David.

Sometimes Saul would get sick, and David would play his harp for the king, soothing his mind and helping Saul to feel better. But one day as David was playing the harp for him, Saul suddenly picked up his spear and hurled it at David! The spear barely missed him. David ran out of the room, fearing for his life. When he realized that Saul was trying to kill him, he fled to the mountains to hide. He had to live on the run, going from cave to cave, month after month.

Think of it. David hadn’t done anything wrong. He had treated Saul with respect and honor, yet Saul turned around and paid him back by attempting to kill him. Don’t you know David could easily have been bitter? He could have easily said, “God, why is this guy trying to hurt me? I didn’t do anything to him. God, I thought You chose me to be king. What’s going on here?”

But David didn’t do that. He kept a good attitude, refusing to hurt Saul, even when he had the opportunity. Although Saul wasn’t treating him right, David still respected Saul’s position of authority.

Somebody in your life who has authority over you — a boss, a supervisor, a parent, or somebody in a position of leadership—may be treating you unfairly. You know that what they are doing is wrong, and they probably know it, too. Consequently, you may be tempted to treat that person with disdain or disrespect. It’s easy to rationalize or justify a wrong attitude toward that person. After all, My boss is rude. He’s ungodly. I don’t have to treat him respectfully. Or, My parents argue and fight all the time. I’m not going to obey them. Or, My spouse doesn’t go to church with me. How am I supposed to respect a person like that?

The truth is, whether that person is behaving correctly or not, God expects us to honor his or her position of authority. Don’t make excuses and try to justify in your mind why you are free to speak or act disrespectfully toward that person. If you refuse to live under authority, God will never promote you to a position of greater authority

It’s easy to respect those in positions of authority as long as they are being kind to us or when we agree with that person. But the true test comes when you get a “Saul” in your life, when somebody treats you unfairly for no apparent reason.

Like David, many people today have been chosen by God to do something great. God wants to place them in positions of honor, positions of leadership, but for some reason they don’t ever pass the test. Instead of trusting God, they’re always trying to manipulate circumstances, to bring justice on their own. Instead of just letting offenses go, forgiving the offender and trusting God to make the wrongs right, they’re always trying to pay back the “Sauls” in their lives. But there is a better way.

Back in the late 1950s, my dad had everything in the world going for him. He was a successful pastor of a thriving church in Houston, and the congregation had just built a big, beautiful new building. Daddy was on the state board for his denomination, and everyone regarded John Osteen as a rising leader, on the way up in the hierarchy of the church. But in 1958, Daddy developed a desire to delve more deeply into the things of God. He wasn’t satisfied to grow stagnant in his spiritual journeys, and he didn’t want the church to become complacent either.

As Daddy studied the Scriptures, he realized that God wanted to do more for His people than what most folks were accustomed to receiving. Daddy was excited about what he was learning from the Bible, and he began to share his insights with the church. He told the congregation that he saw more clearly that God was a good God, a heavenly Father, rather than a demanding, impossible-to-please judge. Daddy taught the people that God wanted them to be happy, healthy, and whole, and he began to pray for people who were sick or otherwise in need.

Much to my dad’s surprise, many of the people in that congregation didn’t appreciate his fresh discoveries. They were steeped in their traditions, and because Daddy’s enthusiastic, fiery messages weren’t exactly what they were used to hearing, it made some of them uncomfortable. Even though Daddy was teaching them right out of the Bible, they were upset that the supernatural God Daddy described didn’t fit into their denominational guidelines.

The congregation took a vote to see whether they wanted Daddy to stay or to leave. When the ballots were all counted, Daddy had plenty of votes to stay, but during the next few months some of the people treated him so badly and were so disrespectful to him that he knew the best thing he could do for the church was to just move on. Naturally, he was disappointed and heartbroken. He had poured his heart and soul into that place, and now he would have to start all over again.

It wasn’t fair; it wasn’t right. The congregation didn’t treat him as he deserved, and Daddy could have easily left there bitter. He could have harbored anger and resentment in his heart toward some of those people. But Daddy let those hard feelings go. His attitude was: God, I know You’re going to make this up to me. I know You will prosper me wherever I go, and You will bring about justice in my life.

Daddy made the decision that he was going to go with God, and in 1959, he left the safety and security of that large, established church, and he went down the road to a small, run-down, abandoned feed store called East Houston Feed & Hardware. It was a beat—up, dirty building with holes in the floor. But Daddy and approximately ninety other people cleaned it up, and on Mother’s Day they started what they called “Lakewood Church.”

The critics said, It’s never going to last, John. You don’t have a chance. Nobody will come.” They said, “It’s going to blow over.”

Sure enough, it did. It blew over the whole city! Today, it’s blowing over the entire world! More than forty-five years later, Lakewood Church is still going strong, still seeing God’s miracles, blessings, and favor, still touching people all over the world.

God knows how to bring justice into your life as well. If you will leave your concerns in God’s hands, He will settle your cases. He will make your wrongs right. He’s promised to take that evil and turn it around and use it to your advantage. It doesn’t matter how badly somebody has hurt you, or how far their actions or words have set you back, God can turn that situation around and make it all up to you, plus much more!

Leave it to God. Live a life of forgiveness. Don’t go around trying to pay people back, trying to get revenge. God sees every wrong that’s being done to you. God sees every person that’s ever hurt you. He’s keeping the record, and the Scripture says if you don’t avenge yourself, God will pay you back. And friend, He’ll not only pay you back, He’ll pay you hack in abundance

3 comments:

Thomas C B Chua said...

Jen, very insightful and Biblical. Tks for your thoughts.

Todd Thompson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julia Fernandes said...

Hi Joel, very nice article. Thanks for writing and God bless you.