Due to the enormous response I received on Tuesday’s “Letting Go” post, I decided that the topics of anger, resentment and bitterness are clearly problems for many of us and another stab at it wouldn’t be such a bad idea!!
On Tuesday, I touched a little bit on how embracing such poison becomes a habit, a crutch and strangely enough, a comfort. In fact, most of us are plagued daily with messages of entitlement, vindication, vengeance and rationalizations.
Yes, these are the ways of the world, but did Jesus act this way? Uh, no.
Let’s see what Jesus has to say about the matter of forgiveness:
- Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22
- “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you….” Luke 6:27
- “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25
The list goes on and on….
Clearly, Jesus forgave quickly and abundantly. He also said that the world would know His disciples by their love (see John 13:34-35 below).
Did you hear that? Jesus didn’t say the world would know His disciples by how often they were right or how perfectly they followed the rules or how often they went to church.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
Jesus said to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!
Does love take revenge? Does love gossip? Does love give the cold shoulder? Does love give others a piece of their mind? Does love tear down? Does love hate?
No, it doesn’t.
Jesus is our example. We have no valid excuse to hold onto our anger, resentment or bitterness because Jesus WAS KILLED and still asked God to forgive us. This still amazes me, shames me and makes me eternally grateful that Jesus isn’t at all like me!!!!
We sure didn’t deserve mercy or grace then or now, so why are we so quick to judge whether someone else is worthy of OUR mercy and grace?
Man, OH, MAN!!! All of my great reasons to hold onto anger, bitterness and resentment have jumped ship! SHEESH!!!!
Of course, as always, this is ALL easier said than done!!!! So, what are some easy and practical ways to get past the animosity and loathing that fill us with contempt for others?
- Pray for our enemies. YES, pray GOOD things for them!!!
- Ask God to change our hearts. Ask for His desires and not human ones.
- Read scriptures about the love and grace of Jesus Christ and God. REPEAT often.
- Pray daily for the poisons of this world to stay out of our hearts, minds and souls.
- Thank Jesus Christ for His sacrifice even though we are undeserving!!!
Also, pray for someone you know who struggles with this and watch God work in ways you would never imagine!!! You might be surprised how much it changes you in the meantime!!!
Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 25:21 – If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.