Words of Hope: Never Outwitted

I have been mulling over a scripture verse for the last two weeks. It says, “I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” Paul is saying that unforgiveness provides Satan an opportunity to take advantage of us—to outwit us. The synonyms for outwit are trick, manipulate, get the better of, outfox, make a fool of.  

I have seen how bitterness makes a fool of me. In all regards when I speak in a bitter way towards others, there is an ugliness that comes into the conversation. Dad and I wrestled with this. How do we handle feelings of injustice, hurt, frustration, and anger without it turning into bitterness? 

I am in a season dealing with a few hurts that I want to nurse into bitterness. I consider how I should address these wrongs. Dad encouraged me before he died to live in forgiveness and peace. God is the great avenger of wrongs. God alone holds the power to bring justice for He sees all the story, every side, the intentions of the heart, He knows what lies in the darkness and light dwells with Him. This brings me tremendous joy as well as a sense of deep reverence.

It resonates with what Henri Nouwen says in his beautiful book You are the Beloved. He writes, “I have often said, ‘I forgive you,’ but even as I said these words my heart remained angry or resentful. I still wanted to hear the story that I was right after all; I still wanted to hear apologies and excuses; I still wanted the satisfaction of receiving some praise in return—if only the praise for being so forgiving!”  

I don’t want to be outwitted, made a fool of by my bitterness. I want to be forgiven and live in communion with God and others. I want to be willing to let my ego die, let my need for my own cherished resolution be given to God and surrendered. I want to fully trust God will right every wrong. Forgiveness frees me from Satan’s snare, the trap bitterness has on my life. Forgiveness is freedom.  

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 

– Romans 12:17-21