What To Do When Things Go Wrong

Oh dear!

This is a brief comment on things worth considering when life seems to be presenting too many challenges, when things are going wrong and you need to stop and consider: why?  And think about the best way forward.

These are only notes; contact us if you need any point to be developed in more detail.  Likewise, if you’d prefer to listen to a talk on this subject, here is a link to a video recording.

First, what NOT to do:

Guilty Adam, blamed Eve and then implied God was at fault in giving her to him (Gen.3:12). Job 31:33 says Adam covered his transgression by hiding guilt in his heart.  (Other examples: King Saul – 1 Sam.15:15 – blamed his soldiers; Aaron – Ex.32:23 blamed the people for the golden calf)

Guilty Cain denied personal responsibility “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen.4:9)  Likewise, Ananias and Sapphira lied about their guilt (Acts 5:3).

(Righteous) Lot compromised holiness; he was vexed but stayed put (Gen.19; 2 Pet.2:7,8)

Paul writes about grieved (wronged) saints taking fellow saints to (a not impartial!) court (1 Cor.6)

What TO do

If at first you don’t succeed, read the instructions!  We must be guided by God’s word.

Read 2 Pet.3:13-14. In light of God’s plans, we should ask are we living in peace , spotless and blameless (see also Phil.2:15)? If we fail in this we likely make things go wrong for others as well as ourselves.  We can only know God’s plans and instructions if we consult His word.

Read Lk.18:1 and 2 Cor.12:7-9.  Recognize the problem and keep praying!

Read Prov.28:13.  Instead of concealing or denying personal responsibility for failure, confess and renounce it (see also Jonah 1:12)

Read Job 2:7-10. Job’s wife opted for euthanasia, but Job patiently accepted God’s right to allow trouble to arise (see Eccles.7:14 and read Jas.1:12; 5:11); solutions may take time!  Innocent Joseph was in prison for 2 more years after his jail-mate butler got out and forgot about him! (Gen.40); but would it have been better for him to be released earlier and returned to obscurity in Canaan? God had bigger plans!

Read 1 Cor.7:21. Use opportunities to be free of constraints on your service (contra Lot); this passage is about accepting realities in life (in the flesh) because it is what we are spiritually that counts (as called by God).  God can work in the negative (when things go wrong) as well as in the positive aspects of our natural lives, but our spiritual goals should have priority attention and may need us to exercise initiative to use them “rather”, i.e. in preference to any undue constraint.  Do not become a slave would not apply to a person who is already a slave when called by God.

Read Rom.12:14-21.  It says we are not to try to get even, when we have been treated badly.  It is the opposite of 1 Cor.6 going to court for “justice”.  Disagreements between Christians need to be talked through with a wise impartial Christian (see also Matt.18:15-17), and the approach should be to accept that it is better to have let yourself be unjustly wronged than wrongly proved right! You can read more about dealing with offences here

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