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When Friends Attack...

I was thinking about a conversation I had with a close friend a while back. I was lying in bed, just staring into the dark, replaying the things that were said. My friend misunderstood some things I had said and rebuked me harshly without understanding my original heart or intention. They just jumped to the wrong conclusion without giving me the benefit of our long-standing relationship.

I felt deeply wronged and hurt. Over time as I thought about what happened, I felt this offense, pity, and justification creeping into my mind and heart.

You know what? Sometimes it's easier to pray, "Forgive us our trespasses" than, "as we forgive those who trespass against us."

We are all going to have these types of things happen to us. It's just part of life. But, when they do happen, we can look to the Word of God for insight and wisdom on what our response should be.

In my little situation, I am reminded of the book of Amos. Now, I know it doesn't get talked about very often, but there are some nuggets that I wanted to share.

Amos 1:2 NLT

2 This is what he saw and heard: "The Lord's voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem! The lush pastures of the shepherds will dry up; the grass on Mount Carmel will wither and die."

This verse says the Lord is Roaring from Zion. Amos gives us a picture of judgment that is directed toward all nations who don't acknowledge God.

You see, the thing God had against these people was how they treated others. We see the brutality against women and against the nation of Israel. God would not stand for such actions.

In Chapter 5:8-9 Amos writes that the whole world must answer to the one true God.

Everyone who ever lived will answer to the one true God. No one is beyond His reach.

God sees every act of injustice and will hold people accountable.

We may not know why God allows us to be treated unfairly, but we can know that He does know when it happens. We can trust him to work out justice how he sees fit.

Doesn't that make you feel good?

Well, hold on a second; there is a part of the book of Amos that makes me feel a little on edge. Just a tad uncomfortable.

You see, the people of Israel probably loved what Amos was saying about those other nations, I mean, he really let them have it, but there's a little trend happening in the prophecies:

The indictments started to get a little closer to home. Amos begins with the surrounding nations and their great cities Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, before dealing with Israel's cousin nation, Edom, and there with its sister nation, Judah.

Then in Amos 2:6 the Lion roars against Israel! And it continues to ROAR for EIGHT Chapters!

Israel had been wronged, BUT it had done wrong as well!

That brings it way close to home, for them and also for us.This passage speaks to the sin that we so often gloss over. Our sins. Don't we need to take time to weigh our actions?

My friend that hurt my feelings may not have been right. He may have even sinned against me, but have I not been guilty of the same thing before, and maybe even worse?

I am not free of sin, and if I justify my sin while condemning the sin of others, I am in danger. I may be misunderstood and unfairly criticized, but God calls me to acknowledge my sin in every conflict.

How can we apply all this to our lives?

The good news is that we can freely acknowledge our faults because God has made full provision for our forgiveness. The book of Amos tells us about God's justice, but it ends with the tender mercies of a forgiving God.

Amos 9:11–15 NLT

11 "In that day I will restore the fallen house of David. I will repair its damaged walls. From the ruins I will rebuild it and restore its former glory. 12 And Israel will possess what is left of Edom and all the nations I have called to be mine." The Lord has spoken, and he will do these things. 13 "The time will come," says the Lord, "when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine! 14 I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine. 15 I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them," says the Lord your God.

God promised to show mercy to people through a future king in David's line. This prophesied King is Jesus. And with Jesus, we're forgiven.

This truth has helped me to forgive.

We must trust God to work justice, and thank him for his mercy. He's at work in our lives, using even conflict to make us, slowly and sometimes painfully, more like Jesus.


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