“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies. Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked” (Psalm 141:3-5).
Do you ever struggle with remaining godly while you are being treated ungodly by others? Does it tempt you to want to lash out at them for treating you this way? I admit that I struggle greatly with this. It is so easy to want to do unto them as they have done unto you. But is this what God wants?
One of the aspects of King David’s life that I am always amazed at is during the years when Saul was persecuting him and chasing him all over the countryside in an attempt to kill David, David had opportunities to exact revenge on Saul and kill him, but he did not. On 2 different occasions David chose to spare Saul’s life instead of taking matters in his own hands (1 Samuel 24:1-15; 26:5-25). David chose to remain godly and not take matters in his own hands by striking God’s anointed king.
How was David able to remain godly while being treated ungodly? In Psalm 141 we get an insight of what David did during times when he was being treated wrongfully by others. This psalm was written during a time when David’s life was being severely threatened. David writes, “Our bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave, as when one plows and breaks up the earth” (Psalm 141:7). His enemies had plotted against his life: “Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, and from the traps of the workers of iniquity” (Psalm 141:9). During such times, David turned to God instead of trying to take matters in his own hands: “But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave my soul destitute” (Psalm 141:8). He called upon God to hear his prayer: “Lord, I cry out to You; make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:1-2).
Not only did David pray for deliverance from such a trial, but he prayed that God would help him to conduct himself in a godly manner in the midst of such persecution: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies” (Psalm 141:3-4). He asked God’s help to control his tongue and to give him the self-restraint not render evil for evil by entering into plots with men who wanted to work iniquity. David was even open to the being rebuked if any of his actions were ungodly: “Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked” (Psalm 141:5).
I learn from David the actions I need to take when I am treated wrongfully by others. Rather than lashing out against them, I need to take my case to God in prayer. I need to ask God to help me control my tongue and actions as I face harsh treatment from others that I may honor God by my life. Today, I will strive to suffer commendably when wronged by others!
“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God” (1 Peter 2:19-20).