By Chris Langford
Where do we place our hope when others cause us pain?
This is a question I often seem to ponder and perhaps one that King David reflected on. Our human nature many times may drive us to lash out at those that try to hurt us, furthering a vicious interpersonal cycle of pain and grief. Or we may decide to seek support from close friends or help from mental health professionals. While there may be value in these two options, restoration for ourselves and others will not occur without reaching out to the Lord and placing our trust in him.
We read in Psalm 40 about how King David put all of his hope in the Lord and cried out to him earnestly asking for help (40:1). He developed many enemies over the years often times as the result of his own sins and shortcomings. The Lord delivered David from the filthiness of sin that had enslaved him (40:2). Although David was a new man in the sight of the Lord, the same did not hold true in the eyes of his fellow man. His previous wrongdoings caught up with him (40:12). David’s enemies continually wanted to do him harm by revisiting his past sins and wrongdoings (40:14-15). He could have denied any past mistakes, or succumbed to the negativeness circulating around him, but instead David calls on the Lord’s love and compassion to protect him (40:11).
David, being freed from his former life of sin, cannot contain the joy he has and his praise for God (40:3). Nobody can separate him from the holy reassurance he has in the Lord. When everything else is crumbling around him, David places his faith in the Lord and urges others to do likewise. David concludes Psalm 40 by urging those who seek the Lord to rejoice in him and the salvation he offers (40:16). While humans continued to rebel against God, he sent his Son to die for us, that by his sacrifice we might receive the Holy Spirit, be cleansed, and live as new creations. This is God’s love, this is his faith in us.
We are called to forgive others their trespasses if we are to expect God’s forgiveness of our own (Ma hew 6:14-15). Perhaps one of the greatest measures of faith is praying to the Lord and believing that he will transform the hearts of those that do us harm. Perhaps one of the greatest testaments to that faith is living a life that reflects such a transformation in ourselves. Like David, let us place our hope in the Lord. A hope that through our forgiveness of others’ misconduct towards us that we find forgiveness of our own shortcomings, a hope that we find peace for the pain that others cause us, and a hope that others will find the love of Christ through our actions and they will experience the miraculous transformation that only the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can provide.