“My strength will be refreshed within me, and my bow will be renewed in my hand.” Job 29:20
People will let us down. Family, friends, colleagues, bosses, pastors. Give someone enough time and it will happen. Misunderstandings arise around what is said and sometimes just as importantly, what is left unsaid. Expectations are not met in a manner that we thought they would be. Gossip rages throughout churches and youth sports leagues that our kids are just trying to enjoy. Compassion gives way to cynicism. Hard hearts often prevail in others….as well as ourselves….we fall on our faces before the cross seeking forgiveness, yet how often do we withhold that same forgiveness from others because well,”they just don’t deserve it”?
I believe it was Ice Cube who once waxed poetic, “So come on and chickity check yo self before you wreck yo self….”
How do we respond when faced with this type of situation in our lives? When we call a friend multiple times and the phone call is never returned? When someone near to us all of a sudden begins to avoid us? When we sense the whispers behind our backs? I’ll tell you how….
We give it to God and trust Him to handle it for us.
Hurt people hurt people. So our angle in any situation should first and foremost be compassion. We don’t need to pretend that we’re not hurt. In fact, I never want you to invalidate how you feel, even and especially in your own mind. Keep that “self talk” real. However, what we do let go of immediately is any grudge we may want to carry, before it has a chance to take root. Pause and remind yourself of all of the grace that you continue to need in your own life and live through that lens….not the “self-righteous” perspective that the devil will want to sell us, especially in those moments. Be quick to forgive. We need to turn our gaze upward toward Heaven and ask God to forgive those that have wronged us. If we happen to ask Him for a rebuke in someone’s life, it should always be from a root of compassion and with the end goal to be constructive in their own heart and life. This doesn’t mean you have to be their BFF, but it does mean that the compassion of Christ takes over. If you’re not there yet? Get there. Ask God to help you get there. I can’t emphasize enough that forgiveness is absolutely HUGE to God. So much so that he says, if you don’t forgive others, you won’t be forgiven…. (see Matthew 6:15). How serious is that! Will you allow bitterness and unforgiveness to keep you outside the gates of Heaven? Here’s a question for you….Is an unforgiving heart in us actually just evidence of our own potentially unredeemed soul? After all, the Bible clearly states that “you’ll know a tree by it’s fruit”. (see Matthew 7:16-20) So, ‘let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven’. (Matthew 5:16)
Even from a clinical distance (a term that I throw around quite a bit), we can and should operate from a place of compassion. This is how we rise above bitterness, thoughts of “getting even” and our own potential hard heartedness. We strive instead to keep our hearts soft and malleable in God’s hands….within healthy boundaries that we set for ourselves, in each unique situation. Have a battle plan in place and follow it when these opportunities come up. If you and a friend find yourselves at a perceived impasse, you be the first to extend the olive branch. Leave the door open for a healthy conversation (healthy is the key word here). You be the bigger man and take the high road. Even if you perceive yourself walking it alone, God will be alongside you reminding you, “this is the way, walk in it.” (see Isaiah 30:21).
Stay in tune with your mindset and align it with Jesus. When it’s a struggle, simply ask Him to help you. He is faithful and will honor that prayer. These are the moments in our “spiritual workouts” that we need to dig deep and embrace the grind! These are those moments! Keep moving forward in love. Our world might tell us otherwise but don’t become trapped with the masses who take the easy road of cynicism and bitterness. Don’t drink that poison, friends. Love one another as He has loved you. Practice this…day in and day out….repetition, repetition, repetition. Do this and you will soon find that you are “more than conquerors, through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
Continue to push forward and fight the GOOD fight! Until next time….