Tag Archives: bitterness

Thank You for Offending Me!!!!

offenses

Thank you for not noticing I colored my hair.  Thank you for stealing my parking spot.  Thank you for not saying hi at church today.  Thank you for not buying me coffee.  Thank you for forgetting my birthday.  Thank you for not remembering I am allergic to green peppers.  Thank you for ignoring me yesterday at the store.  Thank you for not inviting me to go out to dinner.  Thank you for cutting in front of me.  Thank you for not asking me to be a bridesmaid.  Thank you for not buying me something when you went to the store. Thank you for posting what you did on Facebook.

SHOULD I GO ON?

Offenses are literally EVERYWHERE these days.  As the world grows colder and colder and we are busy building our walls of defense against one another, we are suffering on the inside and no one seems to notice it much anymore.  We shrug our shoulders and move on to the next offense which just adds fuel to the fire already blazing on the inside.  We misinterpret things.  We react to situations based on our past hurts.  We are literally destroying our bodies with all this harbored bitterness. Often we take on offenses that really are not even there.

offenses3

So how can we overcome offenses in our lives?  Our women’s Bible study is reading a book called “Who Switched Off My Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf and just in the first two weeks I have learned a few things. (you can look her up YouTube and watch her amazing videos)  The main thing I want to focus on for the purposes of this blog is good trees verses bad trees.  When we are offended we have two choices:  take the offense and create a black tree or reject it and create a green, healthy one. (see Dr. Caroline Leaf videos for further understanding)  From the moment something offends us we can either choose life or death.  It really does something to the chemical balance in our bodies.

offenses2

Let me give you an example which just happened this morning.  I was driving my husband to work and he simply said to me, “Ya know, you need to slow down.”  Um, What?  I was going 40 and was ready with my defense when he further explained the speed limit had changed to 35 a few blocks back.  As I listened to his explanation I realized I had a choice to make:  Green Tree or Black Tree.  Here are the two scenarios:

  • I take on the offense:  My mind starts racing.  My blood pressure begins to elevate.  So I begin to build my defense case.  I have been driving for 31 years and have had 1, yes one, violation.  Then pride begins to boast in all its glory, my mind tries to dig up ALL of the things I have witnessed while being a passenger to his driving (which the list was very short–he is a great driver).  If I proceed with this avenue I will then become bitter and EVERY time I am driving my husband somewhere I will feel like I am not driving right according to his standards.  I would also open the door to me being critical about his driving as well.  Do you see where the bitterness grows and festers until it’s a BIG ugly black tree?
  • I decide not to be offended:  I choose in that very moment to capture this offense and give it to Jesus.  My blood pressure does not rise.  There is no place for bitterness to grow.  I know that pride will only get me into trouble and possibly a future “told you so”, besides,  growing a green, healthy tree is much simpler in the long run.  Besides I plan on spending the rest of my life riding in the car with my husband and this could have grown into one BIG UGLY black tree.

I am so THANKFUL God is renewing my mind in this area of my life.  Letting offenses fester only leads to a bitter life and possibly damages to my health.  I want to be able to love people and not take on any offenses.  The journey will not be easy, yet I accept the challenge.  I have had several instances this week where I have failed to not take on an offense, but then I remember it is a learning process.  It merely is in slowing down and making the clear choice rather than the one tainted by past hurts.

Dear Lord, I thank You for renewal of minds.  I pray You will help me to keep seeking deeper understanding in this area of my life.  I thank You that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and You meet me right where I am at.  Thank  You for healing me and guiding my steps towards greater freedom!  In Jesus Name!  Amen

 

Advertisements

Empty Glasses

Joel 1:17

The seeds die in the parched ground, and the grain crops fail. The barns stand empty, and granaries are abandoned.
???????????????????????????????
Sometimes we fail.  Often we say the wrong things before we can close our mouths.  Maybe we pushed someone away because they did not see things the way we do.  Perhaps we just closed our eyes and prayed for the best.  It’s like taking an empty glass to a desert, planting a seed and expecting it to grow and be fruitful.  When we come at something empty, we produce an empty and broken atmosphere.  Yes I am speaking my heart right now as I look across certain circles in my life and find that I am missing several friends who once were close.  What happened?  Was I the empty glass?  Did I not have a desire within me to nurture life?
I probably could spend all night listing all of the things I could have possibly done in the past to hurt others or to make them want to leave my life.  I  admit I am not the best at making friendships work.  It’s not selfishness or pride, it’s just I get tired of trying to be the good guy.  I want to love like Jesus does with all that compassion and grace and I have a desire to love people right where they are at…..yet…..I fail.  Why? Maybe I still have some brokenness.  Maybe I am just too busy.  Maybe I just don’t know what to say or do in certain situations and people think I have just let them go.
This is me.  I am a product of revival.  A creation only God could make.  I am who I am, faults and all.  I am a kind of love me or let me person be I guess.  I have so many things consuming my life right now…work, family, church….how do I make it all balance and still work on relationships?  Let’s get Biblical for a moment.  What did Jesus command us to do right before He left us?  To love one another and spread the Good News.  Are we really filling those shoes if we walk around with empty glasses?
What exactly is an empty glass?  Well, judgments, bitterness, unforgiveness, grudges, feeling unloved or unaccepted, mistrust, not letting the past go, misunderstandings, hatred, religion…..I could go on but it’s not pretty.  What fills those glasses? Grace.  How many of us have empty glasses?  I have lost several friendships in the recent past due to my new marriage.  What?  Am I not happy and content and still following after God with all I am? Am I perfect at it?  Nope.  Do I do my best? Perhaps not always.  Am I allowing God to change me as I go?  You betcha!  Maybe that’s wrong with me….I am too surrender.
How silly does that sound?  Too surrendered.  I guess what I am trying to get to is quite simple, I don’t want to be an empty glass and if I have been that to anyone reading this, I stand asking for forgiveness.  I miss my friends.  I miss the passion we once shared for God.  I long for my glass  to be overflowing so that wherever I go I will water the ground.  I want to be a source of strength for someone else.  I want my life to matter for God.
We as a body of Christ need to learn how to step in and stand beside our sister or brother even if we don’t always understand what God is doing in their lives.  We need to love them right where they are and not judge them.  We need to love one another not because we are perfect at being Christians, but because we recognize we all have pain.  We all have past hurts.  We all made wrong choices sometimes.  We need to learn to seek God in the matters before us and not with our own wisdom.  Yes, as Christians following after God we need to learn how to tell people that Jesus loves them no matter what and we should be able to do the same.
,
Lord, fill my glass to overflowing.  Change what you need to change in me.  Give me the compassion to love.  Show me how to be a friend.  Let me not grow weary in sharing who You are to others.  Allow me to leave a river of You wherever I go.  Teach me Your ways Lord and give me wisdom to speak the right words.  Thank you for the grace which fills my glass to overflowing each time I come to you.