God's Righteous Judgment

(2 Thessalonians 1)

Lesson 3 -- second quarter 1997
March 16, 1997

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications

He ripped me off!
Have you practiced thankful appreciation?

We have all had to manage our feelings, emotions and attitudes in the face of business experiences tainted by a lack of integrity. We have our money to save. We have our rights to claim and exercise. We have our opinions of right and wrong, fairness and injustice. And we definitely do not like to be taken for gullible, unsuspecting, naive victims.

I am dealing with that right this very minute. I'm convinced a local automotive business passed on to me the extra $320 cost of their oversight. And I'm even more convinced that their not doing something they included in their estimate cost me an additional $500 once we were out of state. I think that I am ready to just let the matter rest. But what do I want God to do about it? Now there's a difficult question, and one with which I think you can identify! How shall God avenge me?

Look, we can say that we are willing to let "them" live with their own conscience. We can even say that we are "just" going to let God be the judge between us. We might eventually come to the place of forgiveness and forgetfulness. Fine. But my question boils down to this: "What do we have in mind for God to judge?"

Perhaps your case isn't about financial loss. Perhaps yours is a blotch on your reputation. Maybe it's being deprived of some honor or privilege that is rightfully yours. Maybe it's as "simple" as a friend reneging on an agreement to help. Whatever the case, what do you have in mind for God to judge?

Tell you what. Let's just say this and settle the issue. What I have in mind for God to judge is immaterial. What I want to be avenged of does not matter in the broad, eternal scope of things. While God cares about our hurts, losses and disappointments, He sees the issues that really matter. And I thank Him for showing me that this afternoon in this lesson: "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

There you have it. When our "adversary" stands before the throne of God to receive his righteous judgement, he will be judged and avenged on the basis of knowing God and obeying the Gospel. Period. And so will you. And so will I. May the Lord plant this truth unmovably in our hearts. Until then, I think it will be impossible to really care about and really love those who take advantage of us.

What motivates you to thankful appreciation of such a degree that you go so far as to express it? Think of each member of your Sunday School class. Now perhaps a more difficult assignment: think of each member of your family. Have you allowed the Lord to train your physical and spiritual senses to perceive the good and praiseworthy in others? Try it! You will find it a charming, healthful alternative to complaining and criticizing.

And what should you look for? Well, I appreciate so-and-so because he did this, that or the other thing for me, or gave me something, or publicly praised these Youth Pages. Hmmm. Such self-centered thankfulness!

Can you complete this statement for Paul, Silvanus and Timothy? "We are bound to thank God always for you...because...."

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