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Posts Tagged ‘bitterness’

Forgive.pngMy heart didn’t want to believe the painful truth of the words he spoke. Not my child. Not this unbearable, unthinkable trespassing of an innocent soul.

I felt rage swelling in my chest against the one who had caused all of this—a malevolent, murderous rage born of maternal instinct and sin-sick imperfection. He was responsible for the lost years. Years steeped in misdirected anger, self-soothing sabotage and grief disguised as defiance. He deserved a punishment unlike any other. If he had been standing in my living room that day? I would have gladly been the one to execute the sentence.

It’s frightening to confess the depth of my brokeneness. Admit to the ugliness. Disclose the depravity.

But, is it possible that you can relate to the desperation of a mother rising up fierce and unforgiving to protect her child? Perhaps you are the precious one who has lived through the fire of something that seared your soul? A pain now so raw you doubt your ability to forgive?

Friend, you and I are incapable of forgiving in our own strength. Only through the healing, hope-giving power of Jesus will we discover the ability to release the burden of our heart.

Choosing forgiveness is an act of obedience. Jesus didn’t suggest that we forgive; He commanded it.

Love your enemies.

One simple, beautiful phrase that evokes ‘Amen’s’ and head nods when those offenses we’re asked to forgive are small or insignificant. But, when the wound is as deep as a well in the desert? When the pain pulses and pounds like a jackhammer tearing at flesh? Are we expected to forgive those hurts?

Love your enemies.

Jesus didn’t tell us to love our enemies when it was convenient or easy. He didn’t pencil in a provisional clause; an if-then statement that alleviates us of the responsibility to forgive.

Love your enemies.

 And, I imagine myself in the crowd surrounding the tree while the sinless Christ pours forgiveness from His soul like the blood spilling from His wounds.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

 Love your enemies.

My sins alone would have nailed Christ to the cross. If I had been the only woman to have sinned, He still would have born my stripes. Chosen death that I could live. Offered himself for the enemy.

If Jesus loves me that much? Gave that much? How can I refuse to forgive another?

And you, Friend? Are you willing to set aside the millstone of unforgiveness for freedom today? Trust Jesus. He’ll do the heavy lifting.

Three ACTion Steps to Help Move from Unforgiveness to Mercy

Admit to the bitterness and anger hidden in your heart. (1 John 1:9)

Choose obedience. Deciding to do otherwise only leads to division in  relationship with Christ. (Matthew 6:14)

Trust the Father. He is both loving and just. (Romans 12:19)

 

Peace and blessings,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A heart-rending scene in the movie Forrest Gump elicits uncomfortable emotions every time I revisit the movie. Why? Because I relate to Jenny—the young woman who returns to her family home only to be reminded of the pain and destructive secrets experienced in a place that should have been one of innocence and laughter.

 

Not Enough Rocks.pngPausing, Jenny leans almost involuntarily toward the ground where her hand wraps itself around something solid…indestructible. Determinedly, she hurls a rock at the faded, abandoned home in the distance. Glass shatters and one rock after another finds its mark—again and again–until Jenny presses her heaving body against the earth in exhaustion.

“Sometimes,” her companion laments, “I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.”

Do you find purchase with those words, dear Friend? Can you understand how deep a wound this woman may have experienced?

And you—what about you?

Do you carry around scars, too? Maybe your hurts grew in the promising relationship of marriage. Oh, the hope you had the day you pronounced your love for one another. Now, perhaps, the dreams have all but disappeared and you wonder if your aching heart can bear the loneliness any longer.

Or, it could be that the dreams you held for your child have been destroyed. An imposter stepped in and occupied their place—substance abuse…depression….a precious one’s death.

Maybe your hurts were borne in a moment of a friend’s unwarranted betrayal…a workplace disagreement…or, perhaps, even at the hands of other Christians.

Oh, yes. The pain is real.

But what I know? Throwing rocks will not relieve the ache. The stinging words of retort meant to shame our offender…the dissolution of an unfulfilling relationship for another…the temporary solace found in a habit turned master—none of these “rocks” provide lasting satisfaction.   Instead, these stones will hang heavy like a weight—gradually pulling us deeper into resentment…remorse…regret.

But The Rock? He is the place of refuge…restoration…renewal. If we just unfurl those tightly curled fists and allow the rocks to tumble to the ground—each bitter thought and every cry of the heart—our faith will grow bigger, our hope greater, and our love deeper.

Scripture to Study (Genesis 38-46)

Consider Joseph’s story.

Because he was his father’s favorite, Joseph’s brother stripped him of dignity, threw him into the bowels of a pit, and sold him for next to nothing to slave traders. Remarkably, Joseph survived—and he survived without allowing hatred to implant itself in the dark places of his heart.

Instead, Joseph chose forgiveness. Beautiful, undeserved forgiveness.  

Joseph decided upon generosity. Life-giving, beyond expectation liberality.

The one who had been cast aside offered grace. Bountiful, unwarranted blessing.

 

-How do you imagine you would have reacted in Joseph’s situation?

-What is your response to those who have caused wounds in your life?

-Do your thoughts or actions align with the truth of who God says He is?

-What one step can you take today to let go of your grasp on a past hurt?

 

 

 

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A trusted mentor of mine put it bluntly…”What gives you the right to malign God’s character?”

Revealing the ugly places in my heart, I confided to a root of bitterness that threatened to impair my faith with its silent, choking growth–an infected seed of doubt…fear..and disillusionment had taken root. The Enemy’s whispered messages had penetrated my mother’s tender heart. This was not what I had imagined for my precious ones.

I wondered if God really had a plan…really had our good in mind. How could this hardship, this suffering, this hollow ache in my heart beating its cry moment-by-moment lead to something more…something beautiful?

Meeting my friend’s gentle rebuke with an unusually frank reply I responded, “I have no right to malign God. I know the truth whether I feel it or not.”

Could you, too, be struggling with a situation that makes it difficult to see God’s good in your hurting? You will see Him, dear Friend, if you watch and listen. His goodness might come through the words of a loving friend…a meal cooked by servant hands…a prayer offered quietly on your behalf. You might notice His mercy in the fresh, clean smell of your freshly bathed child pressed close to your heart…the rising of the sun when you didn’t think light could penetrate the darkness.

I pray you know the truth–whether you feel it or not.

Truths from Scripture

Psalm 27:13
I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living. Wait for The Lord; be strong And take heart and wait for The Lord. (Emphasis mine)

Romans 8:37
In all these things we are more than conquerers through him who loved us.

1 Peter 5:8-10
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ…will himself restore you…

John 8:32 …the truth will set you free.

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