It is time to breathe in a prayer of ridding yourself of a plague. I want to thank E. Stanley Jones for his numerous meditations on this topic that have inspired me to address it head on. There are 11 steps to getting rid of this dreaded disease. Really, it takes 11. In today’s blog, I will approach 4 of them. (they might be all you can handle right now)
- Remember that resentments have no part or lot with a Christian. (ouch) It should be obvious that the source of all love cannot be held at the same time as resentment. One has to go. I don’t think you want to go through life without Christ, so whether justified or not resentments are disastrous for inner life; they are frankly poison. These resentments can and for many are rooted in a touchy, self-centered self, full of self-pity. Decide now that resentments have no place in your life.
- Remember that no one has ever treated you worse than you have treated God, and yet God forgives and forgets! (Ouch again!) “Treat one another with the same spirit as you experience in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2.5) Remember the parable of the man who was forgiven a debt of “three million pounds” and then he went out and refused to forgive a fellow servant who owed “twenty pounds?” He was handed over to the torturers, till he should pay him all the debt. “My father will do the same to you,” says Jesus. Enough said.
- Remember the three levels of life and decide which one you are going to live. (a) The level of life where you return evil for good—demonic level. (b) The level where you return evil for evil—the human, legal level. (c) The level where you return good for evil—the Christian level, the divine level.
The human mind is so interesting in that it responds to how we treat people. If we give evil for good, then we become evil, we become the thing we give out. If we give evil for evil, we become a tit-for-tat person, legalistic, unlovely, and unloved. If we give out good for evil, we are born of the good, and become good.
But, you say, suppose the person is undeserving? John Beilgalhausen a converted Jew whose parents were starved deliberately by the Nazis surrendered it all to God when he became a Christian. His resentments and hate were taken away. A Christian has no enmity. Remember that “who spits against the wind spits in his own face.”
- Don’t let the actions and attitudes of others determine your conduct and attitudes. We need to be Christ directed and not circumstance directed. Everyone’s temple of refuge is Christ. Only He can help you get past the unjustified wrongs. Early Quaker James Naylor said, “To outlive all wrath and contention and to weary out all exaltation and cruelty, or whatever is of nature opposite to itself.” “To outlive” and “to weary out” –that is truly it. When we surrender to love, we “outlive” and “weary out” everything. For love lives and gives, and gives and lives. Hate dies.”
Now you know that everything I write is so that you leave a legacy that is God-centered for your heirs. Might be time to admit your resentments before you teach the lesson. Takes some time to figure this one out and forgive and get beyond it before you are ready to share. You will be far more effective and they will see the sincerity of your sorrow and conviction. (I am saying this to myself as well)
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