No place for revenge

Originally written January 1, 2015 . . . 9:00 p.m.

I am sitting alone in my living room as I write this. I am alone not because my husband and son decided to take an evening drive to chase trains, as is their usual habit, but because of my husbands ex-wife. My husband and son have gone to spend the night at my mother-in-law’s house because tomorrow she will be babysitting my son. That is a job that my husband and I have paid his ex-wife to do for the last couple of years, but tomorrow he and I go back to work after our holiday time off, and we are without a babysitter for our son. So tomorrow our son gets to spend the day with his grandmother. He is super exited about it. I, on the other hand, am praying for the anger in my heart to go away and for the ability to be able to find forgiveness.

On Monday I got a call from my husband’s former mother-in-law. She asked if I had heard from Donna, her daughter and my husband’s ex-wife. When I told her that I hadn’t she let me know that Donna had been arrested that morning for (allegedly) stealing her uncle’s credit card and running up SEVERAL thousand dollars worth of charges. She also let me know what that money was (allegedly) spent on, and let me just say that it wasn’t spent on bills or necessities for the kids or anything else legal. She also let me know that it was time to find new child care. Obviously!

While on the phone with Donna’s mother I was saddened to hear that Donna’s children had to witness their mother getting arrested. No child should ever have to see that, but Donna has never been one to worry about anybody except herself (sorry, that was my anger speaking). After I got off the phone and was able to process what I had just found out I got angry. It is anger that I am having a difficult time letting go of. All that keeps going through my head is all the times Donna called me begging to borrow money to put gas in her out-of-work-brother’s truck or to buy groceries or to pay bills. There was ALWAYS something that she needed money for and I had become her bank.

In the back of my mind I think I always knew what the money was going for, but I didn’t want to think that Donna would lie to me since she knew what I had gone through with my father and his struggle with drug addiction. Donna also has no control over her temper, and when she is told “no” by someone she completely flies off the handle in an uncontrollable fit of rage. I wish I were exaggerating on that, but over the years she has said some of the most hateful things to me just because I wasn’t able to do what she wanted when she wanted it. It just got easier to give her the money and keep her shut up.

I was her enabler. Does that make me as bad as what she was spending my money on? I sure feel like it does. I feel like I may as well have been going directly to her dealer and buying it myself, because then she wouldn’t have had to lie to me, and I wouldn’t have spent so long lying to myself.

Donna had her pre-trial that afternoon and her bond was set. Her mother was hoping to be able to bail her out, but thus far has been able to raise the funds to do so. My current opinion . . . that is for the best. At least in jail Donna can’t do anymore harm to herself or anyone else.

But I have a guilty confession . . . I hope that she gets the maximum amount of jail time for what she did. I hope her children get taken away from her and that she loses everything that means anything to her. But since this is her first felony offense she will probably get off with a pretty hefty probation and, maybe, mandatory drug treatment. That’s it . . . basically a judicial slap on the hand and she won’t learn her lesson.

I told you that I am struggling with anger right now.

Periodically I review sermon notes from previous weeks. Tonight I was going through the notes on a series we just wrapped up a couple of weeks ago about betrayal. Ironic, right? Was the Lord trying to prepare me? One set of the notes from December 7th really stood out to me tonight. It was about playing God . . . it was about revenge. The realities about revenge . . . it is deceptive, destructive, and it is playing God. It is God’s place to see that people are punished for the things they do. It is not our place. When we take revenge into our own hands then we are trying to be God.

Matthew 5:44 says “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” It is not our place to revenge the wrongs done to us. God knows what has been done to us and he has our back.

Psalm 40:1-2, “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.” We need only to give it to God, and trust him. Seeking revenge ourselves only takes our focus from God and gives it to the person who hurt us. Nothing should take our focus from God.

Romans 12:17, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.” When we seek revenge it leads to famine of the soul. It leaves us empty because we are seeking revenge and not seeking God. We are to do what is right by God, and he will take care of us through everything.

Romans 12:19-21 “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. 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.”

So despite the fact that every part of me right now wants to see that Donna gets the punishment that I feel she deserves that is not my job. She is already being punished by God. She has issues with anxiety when she is in large groups of people, and the jail in my town is not the 2-to-a-cell type. It’s bunches and bunches of people all together in one BIG cell. She is away from her children for an undetermined length of time. She is facing felony charges, and she is going through drug withdrawals while in jail.

So as I sit here in my jammies in front of my computer in the comfort of my own home the worst thing I am struggling with right now is what will I do for child care. I am on vacation all next week, so that gives me a week to get something new arranged for my song. There is always an upside to every situation. In this one . . . the Lord was watching out for me in his timing. My husband was off at the beginning of the week and I am off all next week. I have complete faith that the Lord will direct me where to go for Nathan’s new childcare. I also have faith that the Lord will have my back whenever Donna gets out of jail and the inevitable showdown comes regarding her loss off babysitting income from me.

God can handle everything in our lives. We just have to trust him completely.

So now my biggest task is setting aside the anger I have toward Donna. She is in a very bad place in her life mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. She needs prayer to make it through the days and trials (figuratively and literally) ahead of her. I can’t pray for her if I am focusing on my anger and my desire for retribution. I must turn it over to God. I must take it out of my hands and put it in His. It is time (it is beyond time) for me to trust Him completely.

Until next time . . .

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