Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

How To Treat Those Who Mistreat Us

NUMBERS 12:1–13 – Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” And the three of them came out. And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”  And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed. When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous. And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned. Let her not be as one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes out of his mother’s womb.” And Moses cried to the Lord, “O God, please heal her—please.”

So, been mistreated by anyone lately? A family member? A brother or sister in the Lord? Been talked about through gossip and slander and it got back to you? Or directly to your face by a cutting word, a loveless word, a blistering text or email? I know. Some of you or maybe all of you are thinking, “Wake up Jim. Are you human? Of course I have, and I not only have been on the receiving end of such treatment, but sadly, also the giver of such treatment.

Welcome to the world of being a Christian who still sins; who still hurts people with unkind and painful words. And the landscape in our churches is filled with relationships where mistreatment has not been reconciled, not brought to the Lord in humble confession and healed. So, what may we do about this? Two steps to know and practice.

First, mistreatment harbored and not dealt with is an issue of pride. The type of pride that wants to avoid any and all conflict. It is a form of pride that says, “I did nothing wrong. I don’t need to take the first step toward any reconciliation or healing. ”That might be true we did nothing to deserve the mistreatment but we are called “If at all possible to be at peace with one another” (Romans 12:18). Don’t let emotional pain fuel sinful pride and move us to a refusal to make things right, even if we are not at fault.

Next, let love rule. Look at Moses’ response to the mistreatment by Miriam and Aaron, but particularly Miriam. She slandered Moses. She spoke against him. She inflicted the mistreatment of him with a sharp tongue. And Moses deserved none of it. But how did he respond? Amazingly. The scripture reads, And Moses cried to the Lord, ‘O God, please heal her–please. Huh? I am thinking he might say, “Oh, Lord, vindicate me. Defend me. Make her leprosy permanent. Or better yet, rain down fire and brimstone upon her. Use her as an example. ”Nope. Love ruled. Love drove Moses to pray for the very one who hurt him. And that is to be our Christ-like response as well.

So, mistreatment. It is going to happen because we are human and in relationships. What we do with it will either make us more like Christ or bring chastisement upon us because we didn’t respond like Christ. Think about it when mistreated. The choice is ours on how to respond.

PRAYER: “Father, forgive me when I let my hurt emotions lead me to the sins of an unforgiving and vindictive heart.”

QUOTE: “When we are mistreated, remember the mistreatment the Lord Jesus took for us. It will prevent bitterness.”

Because of Him,

Pastor Jim