After Being Robbed At Gunpoint
(Back to Vignettes: Table
(Printer Friendly Version)
Many years ago, I (John) was robbed of my wallet at gunpoint. Needless to say, I experienced a range of reactions, including outrage and
anger. Thankfully, God graciously led me within the hour to Psalm 37. There I found wonderful counsel on how to handle being dealt with
The psalm begins: "Do not fret because of evildoers, be
not envious toward wrongdoers"
(Psalm 37:1 NAS). "To fret" means "to glow or grow warm, figuratively to blaze up
into anger, zeal, jealousy" (All definitions are from Strong's Exhaustive
Concordance or Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon To The Old Testament)
or "to heat oneself up in vexation." "Evildoers" are those who "do evil or
wickedly, who cause an injury or hurt, or who do mischief." "Workers of
iniquity" are those who do "unrighteousness,
wrong, and violent deeds of injustice." Clearly, this first verse identifies so
many of the kinds of incidents that can provoke in us consternation, anger, and
God's instruction to us in such situations is as follows:
"Trust" means to "be
bold, secure, and have confidence in" the Lord. Don't return evil for evil
done to you, but instead, do what is good. Namely, settle down and abide
in your own spheres of stewardship (your "land"), and tend to it faithfully.
To "delight yourself" in the Lord means to "be happy about" Him, which
necessitates thinking, with a "soft, pliable heart," about the Lord and His
goodness, versus thinking, with a hard, agitated heart of retribution, about the
injustice done to you. To "commit" your way to Him means "to roll onto" or
"roll away to" the
Lord all the path or course of your life, including this pothole of injustice.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate
faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you
the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also
in Him, and He will do it (Psalm 37:3-5 NAS).
When we trust the Lord, delight ourselves in Him, and roll over onto Him all
that has happened, then He promises to
"give you the desires
("request, petition, desire" ) of your heart." "He will do it." He
promises to "bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgement as
(vs. 6 NAS).
Psalm 37 continues by saying:
"Rest in the Lord and wait patiently
for Him" (vs. 7 NAS). To "rest" means "to be silent" but also "to be struck dumb and
astonished." To "wait patiently" means "to wait longingly" but also "to
writhe, twist, whirl, travail, be in anguish, be pained." Thus God
recognizes that obeying these commands is not necessarily easily accomplished.
We may have to labor and pray through to bring our agitated hearts into
subjection to God's word.
But doing so is the way that pleases God and frees Him to work out His good
will for us. If however we abide in anger, wrath, and vexation, we will become
like the very people who did wrong to us, and ourselves become evildoers. For
anger, wrath, and fretting "leads only to evildoing"
(vs. 8 NAS). And if we choose to be like our enemies in how we respond to them, then
we have also chosen to partake of their fate: "Evildoers will be cut off (cut
down, destroyed, taken away, perish)"
(vs. 9 NAS).
May we all learn and remember to humble ourselves in time of mistreatment, so as to
practice Godly counsel. For God promises that "the humble will inherit the land,
and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity" (vs11 NAS).
(Back to Top)