How to Deal with those who Mistreat You

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A year ago, my family walked through a series of mistreatments. While we are still processing the events of those sad days, we can identify the cards we used to deal with that situation.

Here’s what I know: every mistreatment is major. Whether active or passive, mistreatment is just toxic to the soul.

I remember being passively mistreated by someone a few years ago. It was one of those situations I couldn’t escape because we were stuck together in the same job. I asked myself: what do I do? Act out? Use the same cards she was showing me? I chose the higher ground: prayer and Biblical meditation.

Prayer, because it is my first defense against any evil directed toward me. Believe it or not, there are evil forces out there behind the people who are mistreating us. The evil one is really wanting us to stumble. In Psalm 140:4-8, you can read about such a situation.

Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
Preserve me from violent men,
Who have purposed to make my steps stumble.
The proud have hidden a snare for me, and cords;
They have spread a net by the wayside;
They have set traps for me. Selah
I said to the Lord: “You are my God;
Hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord.
O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation,
You have covered my head in the day of battle.
Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
Do not further his wicked scheme,
Lest they be exalted. Selah

It is always worth talking to God about your mistreatment. He hears, He cares and He has a plan.

During the time of my passive mistreatment, I was reading the One Year Bible (I've kept that good habit since). I decided that instead of 'just reading,' I was going to grab a hold of the words of God so that the ways of God would become my ways.

Here is a great example. I learned that God doesn’t hide from anyone. When Jesus was around, the only times He retreated was to give Himself to prayer. He also retreated when the multitude tried to speed up God’s plans on their own terms and elect Him to an earthly throne. My situation with that person was nothing like Jesus’ so I took His approach and decided I was not going to hide.

Jesus had a great sense of boundaries. He was known to leave others to pray by Himself. I decided to practice good boundaries. I learned when to be in that person’s presence and when to walk away. I had no idea it was okay to walk away. This simple act really helped the rest of our time together.

Another Bible commandment I couldn’t escape when being mistreated was Forgiveness. A decade ago, as I struggled with extended family issues, a mentor told me: “Cintia, you know the only option is forgiveness, right?” That question awakened my spirit. I can tell you that I turned towards forgiveness and I haven’t turned back.

As a young married couple, my husband and I were convicted of the importance of forgiveness. We always prayed that our children would learn how to quickly release forgiveness. We have recently prayed the same prayer for ourselves.

Forgiveness has given me a clean heart towards God regarding any mistreatment. I know it can be hard. I know that taking revenge sounds like a great option. Because of the Bible I digest daily, I know that vengeance belongs to God and forgiveness belongs to my will. Forgiveness has freed me more effectively and quicker than any earthly force ever will. Forgiveness is freedom.

Whether you are receiving passive or active mistreatment, remember Jesus. Oh, please don’t even use the “Jesus turned the tables” argument because let’s be honest, that’s not the correct interpretation for that passage. It was the zeal for God’s house that was at work, not earthly anger.

Choose to forgive and do it quickly. Give yourself to prayer and read the Bible like a thirsty ultramarathoner running the four deserts race. God will open your eyes to His character and He will guide you in the way you should go. He will give you a strategy that will make you look just like Him. That’s what we ultimately want: to look like Jesus did when He was mistreated.

More in this Series:
How to deal with Unfulfilled Dreams
How to deal with Shallow Friendships