Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Release Others

Day 71
Release Others

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.[i]
Martin Luther King Jr.


e have accepted that our fellow human beings are not given the ability to rob us of God-ordained blessings. We know that God’s power turns even the devil’s strategies into stepping-stones that lead to our ultimate good. We pray for our enemies and work hard to love them with Christ’s love, but the process of forgiveness can nevertheless pose challenges.

Hot anger may rise unbidden when we are confronted with someone who has caused harm to us or those we love. It is particularly bitter to endure injury as a result of the actions of someone we once trusted. Psalm 55 expresses this kind of hurt: “For it is not an enemy who taunts me—then I could bear it… But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together…”[ii] 

Because God’s word is living and active,[iii] one of the dynamic functions of the Bible is to give a voice to our suffering. This process isn’t just vicarious; the Living Word indwells our suffering and gives it a voice that is our own; God’s Word becomes our words. As we are accorded the amazing privilege of pouring out our hearts in His presence, He indwells our suffering and helps us to express it before Him. It is instinctive, though ineffective, to turn to the ones who hurt us and demand relief, but praying Scripture enables us to express outrage and pain without causing damage to the fallible human beings who have served as vessels through which the enemy has done us harm.

Psalm 69 reveals the heartache of one who has been blamed unfairly. When we apply Christ’s love to each of the Psalmist’s plaints, we find a template for forgiveness; a way to release the bitterness of blame without denying the pain we’ve endured:

What I did not steal must I now restore?[iv]  It is painful to be the recipient of blame that does not belong to us, and it is sinful to demand payment from others for debt they cannot pay. Only God can heal the human heart, and so we must request healing from God rather than demanding recompense from other human beings.

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. [v] We need to pour out our hearts to God, not to one another, and to trust that in His perfect timing He will answer.

You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor…Reproaches have broken my heart.[vi] Our behaviors in response to unfair treatment are not sin-free; hard as we try, we can’t be perfect in the presence of others. We have to trust the Lord to cover for us, smooth over our rough edges, and work in our fellow human beings’ minds concerning us. foes are all known to you.[vii] The Lord sees the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, and knows all about them. The enemy is always out to destroy, and he will squeeze his way in wherever he can: sometimes in our circumstances, and always in our responses to our circumstances. It is important to pray in all things, guard our minds and hearts, and trust the Lord in the face of frustrations or apparent accidents.  

 All this ridicule has broken my heart, killed my spirit. I searched for sympathy, and I came up empty. I looked for supporters, but there was no one.[viii]  Until repentance does its work, people who are in sin will feel animosity toward those who have accepted Christ’s forgiveness. When we need to be seen, heard, and understood, other human beings will disappoint. God sees, God hears, God understands.  

But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high! I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord….[ix]  When the Psalmist suffered pain more intense than our own, he purposed to praise the Lord. Praise calms ruffled emotions and brings peace.

Pray (insert the name of a person or group of people you need to forgive in the blank): Father, I forgive _____. Please free me from being blamed by them and keep me from blaming them for the pain they have caused. Please shield me from harm caused by those who intend me evil in return for good; don’t let it touch those I love or me. Please heal my injuries, Lord, as I entrust myself and my reputation into Your hands. Help me to see You in every circumstance and to remain calm, trusting that You are in control and will show me a way through. I praise Your Holy Name, amen. 


Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them.
 For God will save Zion
and build up the cities of Judah,
and people shall dwell there and possess it;
 the offspring of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall dwell in it.
Psalm 69:35-36

[i] Martin Luther King, Jr. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from Web site:
[ii] Psalm 55:12-14
[iii] Hebrews 14:2
[iv] Psalm 69:4
[v] Psalm 69:13
[vi] Psalm 69:19-20
[vii] Psalm 69:19
[viii] Psalm 69:20 The Voice
[ix] Psalm 69:29-31a

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