Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, and oppressors have sought after my life; they have not set God before them. Selah. (Psalm 54:1-3)
What does it mean to be “vindicated” by the Lord? I have found myself praying the prayer of the Psalmist for vindication for several years now. There have been literally years of misunderstanding, slander, offense, etc, that I and Lionheart Ministries have been on the receiving end of. Some of what has been said is deserved, as many mistakes and weaknesses have been exposed over the years. But most has been accusation that is beyond plausibility for rational thought. This type of regressive warfare and stress (friendly fire) begins to take its toll on the spiritual, mental, emotional, financial and physical health of both individuals and a corporate covenant community. In light of these “momentary light afflictions,” one begins to cry out to the Lord, as the Psalmist did, for “vindication.” Is it righteous, Christlike vindication that one seeks? It is now my experience that what I thought it was to be vindicated by the Lord is actually the seeking of human retribution, at least at some motivational level. Such is the insidiousness and subtlety of the deception of the “idol” of self-preservation.
Vindication from God does not mean that all lies, gossip, slander, abuse, etc. that has been committed against us is righted. It does not mean that the Lord will payback with stern retribution those who have slighted or wounded us. Justice from God IS reaping what we sow if we do not repent. However, He desires to show mercy even to those who commit hurtful or hateful acts against us, just as He did to those who crucified Him. Until this test is passed, the fulfillment of His will and purposes remains blocked.
Most of the time vindication from the Lord means entering into the fullness of His purposes and promises with no justification or explanation from Him to anyone, including us. Everyone may have been convinced that they had you “figured out” or “counted out”, like Joseph in prison in Egypt (Gen. 30-41), or even the Lord Jesus Himself during His earthly ministry. God proclaims His vindication by fulfilling His word and calling, with little or no explanation. When Jesus rose from the dead, there was no angelic visitation into the homes of the Pharisees or Roman authorities saying, “Nyaah, nyaah, nyaah, nyaah, nyaah!” The resurrection itself was Abba’s vindication of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus, saying “You’re all wrong and He’s right, and you better change your minds!”
If I’m waiting for God to convince everyone that I’ve been misunderstood, wronged or even abused, I will continue to wait in disappointment and in the training room of a wrongful imprisonment. If I will forgive, leave justice in the Lord’s hands and get on with His purpose in and through me, I will enter into the place of the fulfillment of His purpose. Joseph was completely incapable of vindicating his innocence or making anything happen in prison (Gen. 39-41). Entering into the promise of God for his life, literally overnight, was something only God could make happen. When Joseph was promoted, there was never a vindication or pronunciation of his innocence, even though he was!
The desire for vindication in human eyes remains one of the biggest blockages and stumblingblocks to fulfilling the Lord’s purposes in our lives. Vindication, from a human point of view, becomes more of a prideful “I told you so” or a subtle vengeance on those who have wronged us. It remains as an idolatry of the heart because my glory, and not the Lord’s glory, becomes the focal point.