What happened to “Amen, thank God”?
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Back when I was new to the faith, I learned that when I’m wronged, humiliated, ignored, misunderstood, judged, despised, passed over by a trickster, the target of gossip and malicious comments, given dirty looks, rebuked, disciplined, mocked, called this and that—my response should simply be “Amen, thank God. Let’s move on.” I mean, trust in God as the Righteous Judge, have the humility to learn whatever lessons from the situation, and move on.
Nowadays, however, it is frustrating to see the reaction of many who call themselves people of faith. They say: This is not over. Who does he think he is? Look what they did to me! She is going to pay for this! I’ll never forget this, revenge is patient… That’s not fair, I did nothing wrong! I can only take so much, now there’ll be payback… and things like that.
The attitude is often one of rebellion, self-defense, justification, bitterness, spare-no-words—always coupled with the victim seeking someone to empathize with his or her pain. If there’s any prayer about it (that’s a big “if”, because they often forget the most important response is to pray), it’s usually a prayer marked by hurt and revenge, which, of course, God does not hear.
The old “Amen, thank God,” is full of meaning and significance. “Amen” means “so be it”, “let it be done this way,” “let it be” or “so be it.” That is, I will not fight any of this. I will not defend myself before others, lest I make them my judges.
“Thank God” includes my recognition that everything that God allows is good for me. If He allowed the injustice, the slander, the rebuke etc. to happen to me, it’s because I can make good use of it. God is not evil. People can be evil, but not God. So I give thanks to Him, and ask for strength and wisdom to learn the lesson.
Amen, thank God.
There is a sentence that has become increasingly rare in Christian circles.
P.S. In anticipation of those comments from people who read but hardly understand, I clarify that there is a big difference between “defending oneself ” and “fighting deception.” I’ve argued above against defending ourselves from injustice, slander etc. for our own sake. Fighting deception, on the other hand, is to expose demonic lies that run loose and corrupt the innocent, naïve souls. It is the duty of every Christian to fight all deception, lies, and bad characters that corrupt the pure faith and our Lord’s name. That, however, should never be done for personal benefit, but for the benefit of people who have been or could be deceived.