Text: Psalm 37:1-8 “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgement as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.”
Many Christian families are not serving God today because at one time or another they have been hurt and they have allowed this hurt to control and in many instances crush their life. The result of not knowing how to deal with hurt has destroyed many homes, marriages, and children. There are so many kinds of hurts today. There are those hurts that are emotional, physical, circumstantial, and there is such a large spectrum of things. It can include things like dealing with people, losing a friend or loved ones to death, husband and wives, relationships, etc. How many different things could we deal with on this subject? 1. Tempted Saints, 2. Sinning Saints, 3. Changes in our lives, 4. When God seems absent in our lives, 5. Broken hearts, 6. Children and relatives, 7. Life’s separations, 8. Those who have lost hope, 9. Sickness, 10. Aging, 11. Death for us. There are so many more thoughts that encompass my mind on this subject. Just living can be a problem.
Folks, you either conqueror hurt or it will conquer you. How many people remember a time when someone else hurt you? When dealing with people you will get hurt. How do we handle it as a Christian? Many folks today are conquered by bitterness when hurt. Many families are on the sideline today and not serving God because of hurt.
Hebrews 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”
Notice it says “root of bitterness, and thereby, many be defiled”. It is just like Dandelions. If you do not get them out by the root what happens? A few days later and they are back.
Ephesians 4:31 “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:”
Bitterness is sin. You know what comes out of bitterness – anger. You know what comes of anger – wrath, a strong desire to avenge. There are a lot of people today that are a fight just looking for a place to happen because they have been hurt one time or another and have let it get out of control. It has established root in their life.
Have you ever been around someone with an angry spirit? The problem may go back for years and years. An angry mother or father will beget angry children. Those angry children will be separated from their parents. The result is devastating. Two things happen negatively to a person who has been hurt: Extreme anger and they will withdraw and will not let anyone in.
Somebody will say, “Pastor, you know I did something for someone and they hurt me and never again will I do that. Then they have a pity party. Ever been to one? One person gets invited – you!
My friend, they have been conquered. The Christian that is like that, they look at themselves inside and they do not like what they have become. There are many Christians who have been conquered by hurt. There is a Biblical cycle that is of the flesh but happens when a person gets hurt. It is called the: 1. Fret, 2. Envy, 3. Anger, 4. Wrath, 5. Evil cycle. It happens very quickly.
- Fret – the minuet things. (Somebody says something or does something.)
- Envy – Jealously (I am as good as she or he is.) I Corinthians 3:1-3 “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men?”
- Anger – In the mind – Now he is hot about it. Who does she/he think that they are?
- Wrath – Looks for ways to avenge when he does not get his way.
- Evil – What comes out of revenge? Evil.
Psalm 37:1a “Fret not thyself because of evildoers”, Fret not thyself because of who? “Evildoers.” That is point number one of the cycle, fret.
Psalm 37:1b “Neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.”– Envious. Do you see the progression? This Psalm is a Psalm of David. The prosperity of evil doers troubled David a great deal. Why do the godless seem to prosper? (It hurt David.) This Psalm is an expression of David and a promise of future blessing to the remnant of Israel. (Most definitely has application for us.) It was written in the form of an acrostic. Each verse in this Psalm begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. A, B, C…
The prosperity of evil doers bothered David. But he came to a conclusion in verse 2.
Psalm 37:2 “For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” We must give God time in the matter because he knows what he is doing.
Psalm 37:8 “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” Command 1 is do not fret.
Psalm 37:1 “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.” Command 2 is do not be envious.
Psalm 37:8 “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” Command 3 is cease from anger. Command 4 is forsake wrath. Command 5 is do not do evil.
Do you see the cycle? Fret, envy, anger, wrath, evil cycle. When we let this cycle move through our life we violate God’s Word. Where does all that start? Hurt – It may be a small thing. It may be a big thing. But folks if we let that cycle prevail we will Hurt and Hurt and Hurt. Are we supposed to let it build up, not say anything and withdraw letting them hit me again? Just like a bucket gets fuller and fuller and then finally you unload the bucket on somebody. The answer is in Psalm 37. Between verses 1 and 8 there are five points about how to respond to hurt.
Psalm 37:3 “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” Notice it says that the person who is hurt who are they to focus upon? (The Lord.) Trust in the Lord!
- If you are hurt whom will you focus upon in the flesh? The one who was hurt you.
- You will be thinking about them. You will be in bondage to them.
- You may be in bondage for years.
- Many times you talk to a person who tells you detail by detail how someone hurt them years ago. They are in bondage to the person who hurt them.
Psalm 37:3 “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” We need to focus on Him. He is in control of your life – not the one who hurt you.
When we let the fret, envy, anger, wrath, and evil cycle work in our lives, we are literally saying I do not trust God. God does not care.
Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” He knows that we hurt. Immediately when you are hurt lift your focus to God. A good way to do this is to tell Him that you hurt – look to him. This is important for every Christian to understand. One of the primary basis of the spiritual life is to not be a people responder. God wants us to be a God responder. A spiritually mature person lifts their heart to the Lord and says, “God, what does your kind of person do in a time like this?” God will respond. Now the million-dollar question is how to trust in God.
A lot of Christians in our churches today do not know God. They are saved but really do not know him. They have the terminology down but they do not know God. My hope and prayer is that the people of this church will really know God. Did you know God is perfect? That is right, he never makes a mistake. Do you think you could trust your life to somebody like that? Would not it be great to turn our life over to someone like that who does not make mistakes? You know something else. God loves you and He cares about you.
I love my children. I do not want to let anyone hurt them. I am an earthly father. I do not even begin to compare to God in the love of His children. When you are hurt He knows it, He feels it, and He cares.
James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” He is a God of wisdom. God is also just. He will take action to protect His children. The first foundation of trust is knowing who you are letting have your life. You just do not trust yourself to just anybody. If you know what God is really like you will be open to trusting Him. God is the object of our trust. Why do we need to trust? When we are hurt we feel three things: 1. Unprotected – We have a need for protection. 2. We figure that if we do not get back at this person they will go scott free and all of a sudden we are the worlds appointed judge. I’ll get them. That’s not fair. 3. We wish this person would change. We say, “God change them and do you want me to take care of it for you?”
Folks, the question we have to ask ourselves at this point is this. When I am hurt or under pressure of an evil doer or a worker of iniquity, can I trust God to protect me? There it is friend. Can I trust God to carry out justice? Is God big enough to change this person or circumstance? The Biblical truth of the matter is yes! Absolutely yes! God is interested in protecting His kind of person. God is interested in doing justice to those who hurt you. God is in the business of changing people, and He has done it many times. Would not it be awful to think that God could not change me?
Romans 12:17-21 “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay wrath the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Romans 12: 1-2 “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect, will of God.” Using your spiritual gifts in serving God means dealing with people. Dealing with people means getting hurt. After He tells us about spiritual gifts in Romans 12:3-16, He tells us how to deal with hurt.
Romans 12:17 “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” Never repay anybody evil for evil. I do not care what they have done to you. Be a good testimony so others will not have the ammunition to use. However, that does not mean they will not dream up some things. Verse 17 tells us to make it our policy to live an honest life before all men. An interesting thing to me is I have never been able to figure out why it is that when others hurt us no one is looking but when we get all cranked up to hurt them, everybody is looking!
Romans 12:18 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” This is the goal of a spiritual person. What about here where it says “if possible”? Have I got an out? What he is saying is that it takes two to fight so with every ounce of energy we have from our side we need to try and make peace.
Romans 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord.” Notice it says, “give place unto wrath” means to put it in the proper place. Where is that? – The last word – Lord.
Psalm 37:3 “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” Who are we to trust in? The Lord. Vengeance is the Lord’s responsibility, not mine. Vengeance always breeds resentment. You cannot carry out vengeance to hurt somebody and expect it to be productive because God has not engaged you to do that. When you do that you are trying to take the place of God. My friend you cannot avenge yourself because you are taking the place of God and it will not work. God never gave you the power to do it. What are we to do in times like this? Trust God. You say okay, I will trust God. God here are the six things I want you to do to this person. No, we are to trust God’s wisdom in the matter. God knows what they need. We need to trust His timing.
I also want to point out to you the reason we need to trust His timing is because this hurt from this person may be designed to do something very special in your life. It may well be that this hurt is a reflection of some blind spot, spiritually, in your life.
Patience – “James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptation; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” It may take God a year to work it out because of you. It may take a year of this hurt to motivate you. If you understand the concept the quicker God may be able to take the pressure off. So you step back and say okay God let them have it and when you do I will rejoice. That is not the right kind of spirit either.
Romans 12:20 “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” When you have trusted God then you are emotionally free. Then you can do good to your enemy. Not until. This is very important; you have to get emotionally free.
Psalm 37:3 “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” God said, “Trust in and do good.” What comes first? Trust in the Lord. Give it to Him and then you can do well. Do you see the marvelous way God wants this to work? He will take care of you if you let Him. When a person hurts you and you hurt them back you give the person an excuse to be the person they have become and they feel justified. But the spiritual response of verse 20 compounds their guilt. Folks, God wants us to be His kind of person and He will do the work for us, He has promised that.
Next time I want to continue with Psalm 37 and see some more things about this. Christian, are you God’s kind of person today in this matter of hurt? Are you a God responder or a people responder? God is saying to you today, “Just trust Me. I will do right by you.” It may very well be today that God has had to let you learn some lessons about trusting Him and that is the reason this hurt is here.