Airport hallway
Airport hallway

Fret Not (Part 2)
What's Love Got to Do With It?

"Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil."
Psalm 37:8 ESV

In my previous blog, we learned that the meaning of "fret not yourself" is "do not get heated." In the face of injustice and evil, we are to refrain from agitation, anger and irritation because these reactions produce bad fruit. The question then becomes, how can we respond in a fashion that yields good fruit? The Lord revealed to me the answer to this question in a foreign airport while returning from an overseas trip.

The trip was physically gruelling due to the demanding in-country travel. It was also emotionally taxing because the testimonies I heard from those I set out to meet were intense and difficult to stomach. I felt edgy and perturbed sitting in this atmosphere of cruel persecution yet marvelled at the resiliency of these dear brothers and sisters in Christ. Such encounters leave me questioning how I would endure suffering for my faith.  

I was happy to be returning home but internally remained agitated. My flight departed late at night, and I landed on time in Germany, deboarded, got my bearings, and started to make my way to the next terminal. I soon found myself walking alone down a very long hallway. Looking ahead, I noticed that another traveller had entered the hallway and was heading my way. By the clothing he wore, I knew he belonged to a religious group that oppressed Christians. Having just witnessed firsthand the suffering persecution brings, I instantly disliked this fellow.

I realized he was walking towards me on the same path I had taken. With a defiant spirit, I resolved not to give way. And so I walked, head down, dragging my suitcase, gritting my teeth, and sensing my insolence rising. At fifteen feet, he kept his course. Ten feet, I remained steadfast. At about five feet away from our titanic collision, he suddenly looked up, bleary-eyed and travel-weary, noticing me for the first time. "Oh, sorry," he said as he sidestepped to move past me.

VICTORY! That's right, I thought, you get out of my way. Then, the Lord broke through to my jet-lagged, fretful heart and said, "If you think you can love your enemies in your own strength, you will fail every time."

When we fret, we neglect to love. Later, it occurred to me that never once did I hear the persecuted Christians I visited express hatred towards their tormentors; yet I had chosen to carry their offence. In doing so, the witness to my airport "nemesis" failed to show any measure of grace or love. Instead, I fed him the bad fruit of a hateful heart.

"You never so touch the ocean of God's love
as when you forgive and love your enemies."
Corrie ten Boom

I need reminding of this lesson every day. You see, I still struggle to display a heart of love, whether it be for the person who cuts me off at the Tim Horton's drive-through or the Fulani herdsmen I read about who recently butchered seven Christian farmers. The seeds of fret abound, and the way to avoid them from germinating within is to live a life of Biblical meekness.

Psalm 37 has been considered a commentary on Mathew 5:5: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Meekness is often mistakenly regarded as weakness, and those who embody this trait are viewed as doormats for their worldly oppressors. What I have discovered, however, is that the call to love our enemies requires resilience and strength which come when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to the blessings of Christlike meekness.

In my next blog, we will look at what it means to be meek in a hostile world. Until then, may you continue to experience God's grace and peace.

sig floyd

Floyd A. Brobbel
Chief Executive Officer
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada Inc.