SOLD, Charcoal on Paper, 59cm x 84cm (24″ x 34″), Prints Available
“For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.” (Psalm 135:14)
“O LORD, you have seen this; be not silent. Do not be far from me, O Lord. Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. Vindicate me in your righteousness, O LORD my God; do not let them gloat over me. Do not let them think, ‘Aha, just what we wanted!’ or say, ‘We have swallowed him up.’” (Psalm 35:22-25)
“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
This drawing came out of two experiences where I was falsely accused and condemned.
I struggled to genuinely forgive my accusers even though I knew it was God’s will for me to do so (Colossians 3:13, Matthew 5:38-48). I kept forgiving them and then getting angry at them again. I begged God to help me finally forgive them and he guided me to the following Scripture:
“For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:19-23)
Jesus is the greatest example of the ‘silent sufferer’. Isaiah 52:13-53:12 tells us about some of the sufferings He went through when he was falsely accused and condemned. Jesus also warns us, “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also…They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me” (John 15:20-21). Therefore, as his followers, we should not think it strange if we must endure the same kinds of sufferings (1 Peter 4:12-16, Philippians 3:10).
Isaiah 50:5-9 also prophesies about how Jesus handled the situation when he suffered unjustly.
“The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other! who is my accuser? Let him confront me! It is the Sovereign LORD who helps me. Who is he that will condemn me? They will all wear out like a garment; the moths will eat them up.” (Isaiah 50:5-9)
Most of us have a very strong desire to see justice done. This makes personal injustice one of the most difficult things to deal with and the need to vindicate ourselves one of the most difficult things to let go of. What finally set me free to forgive my accusers (and not take it back again), was to ‘entrust myself to Him who judges justly’ (1 Peter 2:23). God helped me surrender my desire to defend and to justify myself. He also helped me let go of my ‘need’ to arright the unjust situation via my own way.
I transferred my “right” to establish justice and vindication over to God; I trusted in him to be my justifier and vindicator. I knew that he would perfectly and most certainly execute judgment, justice and vindication in the situation. Knowing this fully satisfied my sense of the injustice that had been done unto me.
However, I was far from being filled with glee over God’s coming vengeance against my human adversaries. Instead, as soon as I trusted in God to establish justice, I was filled with compassion and began to intercede for them, asking God to have mercy on them rather than to take vengeance upon them.
Although humans committed the wrongs against me, I eventually recognized that it was actually Satan using humans to launch a spiritual attack against me.“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
This spiritual reality is what I have portrayed in my drawing. We must remember who the true enemy really is–Satan (See also 2 Timothy 2:25-26).
I also recognized that my unforgiveness towards the people made me susceptible, in part, to this spiritual attack: “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Furthermore, Satan had also been deceiving me into believing that the heavy condemnation I felt (which had been heaped upon me by the people) was actually God condemning me. This was a complete lie, but I had allowed it to bind me with heaviness for a long time! In addition to Psalm 35, it was the following Scriptures that revealed the truth that set me free from the heavy condemnation. They also brought resolution in my soul concerning the situations.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us.” (Romans 8:31-37)
As the Spirit quickened these Scriptures to me, they deeply penetrated my heart. As they did, I felt God’s vindicating power consume my (spiritual) enemies before me. The condemnation that had held me captive for so long had been utterly destroyed. God had broken its heavy yoke off my shoulders. I finally found the grace of God to forgive my human accusers from my heart once for all (Matthew 18:15-35). I also found that obeying the fullness of Matthew 5:38-48 was a very powerful key in finally forgiving those who wronged me. I felt so light and so free! Praise be to God for the wonderful works he has done on my behalf! Praise be to the Lord who has vindicated me and set me free!