I was baking cookies with my kids over the holidays. My son was helping me measure all the ingredients and place them in prep bowls so we would be ready to go and not miss anything since we were more than doubling this recipe. He opened the bottle of vanilla and practically stuck his nose in it. MMMMMM smells so good. He begged me to let him try it and I warned him the smell was deceiving because alone it was bitter and nothing at all like it smells. He insisted and I relented and he put some on a spoon to taste. I will save you the part where I said I told you so!
A few weeks later I was making fresh squeezed lemonade. My little niece insisted she wanted some lemon juice. Try telling a 3-year-old that just knows about everything there is to know about everything she won’t like it and you might as well attempt to nail jello to a tree. So I let her sip it from a spoon. After we all died laughing at her over exaggerated faces and I wiped her tongue off with a wet dishcloth at her repeated assistance, “Get it off me!” she proclaimed rather matter of factly, “that was ridiculous!” (Yes, she used the word ridiculous!) I tried to tell her!
Bitterness, anger and holding grudges leave the same nasty taste in our mouths. Even though we have been warned over and over that nothing good comes from it we still insist that some how it will help us feel better.
I read a quote yesterday: Holding a Grudge is Like Drinking Poison and Waiting For the Other Person to Die
May I share? I will do so tenderly so if this seems vague I am sorry but I pray my words will be sensitive yet effective.
Many years ago I heard very clearly from the Lord. It was as though He was standing to my right side, had placed His hand on my shoulder and whispered in my ear. He was very clear in what He was asking me to do and say. I shared it with those whose lives it would affect and I obeyed. The result was the changing of life circumstances for several people and our entire family. I do know that lives were saved because of following His direction. Because of the way God made me and the characteristics He has ingrained in my being, I find it hard to behave certain ways. I find certain lifestyles and behaviours hard to understand. I do not for one minute think I am above anyone but, on the same foot, I am not below anyone either. Many years have passed and I have sacrificed as have many others. I have tried to do the right things and be the woman God has called me to be in this situation. There have been years of blessings and years of pain. I learned that although I was obedient I still was (and am) in the middle of someone elses consequences, someone elses choices and wrong behaviours and I will go so far as to say someone elses generational curses. I have stood my ground and held my head high. I have done when others would have given up. I have not always been perfect but I have been willing to be challenged and corrected in love and I have been willing to change. I have endured people thinking they knew and others passing judgement. I have lost people who I thought were my friends and I have been left standing alone. (That is how I felt) I have been the topic of “prayerful” conversation and I have hit bottom to the point of no longer wanting to live. I have spent hours, countless hours in counseling and I have done and done. I had grown cold and resentful and I could taste hate for the first time in my life.
I am being so real with you. I have to. I started being real about this several months ago when I could no longer breathe. Literally. It was as if the walls were filled with holes and water was pouring into every crack threatening my life, sucking out the last bits of air. I have poured over the Word, I know the scriptures. I know that these people do not care what they are doing, what they have done. They have shown and continue to show me who they really are and I have accepted it. I know that them facing or being made to face their behaviours would mean they would be faced to make a choice to change. They would no longer be able to blame others, me. Yet it hurts, because I can’t wrap my head around it, because I have done and given up and wasted time and…..don’t they get it?????????????????????????????????
No. They don’t. Just like an addiction- until you are ready to face it, deal with it and call it what it is you insist “you don’t have a problem!” ( I don’t speak this lightly as I too struggle with addiction to co-dependency and food)
And so as I give this bitterness and anger and these grudges rent free space in my head and heart they take over. Not always, but when these people are in my space….I can almost taste it in my mouth like that bitter vanilla or lemon. I don’t want it to be this way. I want to find a way to be without letting these things impact my life. And so today, I do the only thing I know to do as I am spoken to with disrespect and glared at and …………………….I turn these things and these people over and apply truth the only way I know how.
“Lord, help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. For I agree with You, my anger can never make things right in Your sight. James 1:19-20
Father, I refuse to sin by letting anger gain control over me. I choose not to let the sun go down while I am still angry, because I know that anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil. Help me rid myself of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, Father, I choose to be kind to others, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as You through Christ has forgiven me. Ephesians 4:26, 31-32
Lord, help me to remember that You said that if I forgive those who sin against me, that my heavenly Father will forgive me as well. But if I refuse to forgive others, the Father will not forgive my sins. I know that I am saved by grace and not works, but this shows me how serious You are about forgiveness. Help me to follow Your example! Matthew 6:14,15
Father, help me to remember that if my enemies are hungry, I should give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, I should give them water to drink. The truth is that when I do this it is as if I am heap burning coals on their heads, and I know that You, oh LORD, will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22 Father, Your word tells me to never avenge myself. Rather help me to leave that to You, dear God. For You have written, “I will take vengeance, I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19
Father, help me to aim for harmony in the church and try to build others up. Romans 14:19 Lord, help me remember that a gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. Proverbs 15;1
Lord, help me to control my anger because if I do I will have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes. Proverbs 14:29
Lord, I choose to stop my angry habits! I need Your help in order to turn from my rage! Help me not to envy others–because it only leads to harm. Psalms 37:8
Lord Jesus, You said that if I am angry with someone, that I am subject to judgment! If I call someone an idiot, that I am in danger of being brought before the high council. And if I curse someone, I am in danger of the fires of hell. Lord, you take anger and rage seriously, I repent of this evil. Help me also, remember anyone that has something against me, and give me the strength to obey You and go and become reconciled to that person. Matthew 5:22-24
Father, help me to obey Your word where it says that if another believer sins against me, that I am to go privately to that person and point out their fault. Lord, if the other person listens and confesses it, then I have won that person back. But Father, if I am unsuccessful, help me to obey You by taking one or two others with me and go back again, so that everything I say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. Lord, if after all this, that person still refuses to listen, then help me not to sin but take my case to the church. Help me to live as if I really believe You Jesus when you said that I am to forgive someone “seventy times seven! Matthew 18:15-22
Dear God, since You chose me to be one of your holy people who You love, help me clothe myself with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Holy Father, help me to make allowance for the faults of others and help me be obedient and forgive the person who has offended me. Lord, I choose to remember, that You have forgiven me of so much, that I must forgive others. Father, the most important piece of clothing I must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. So Holy Spirit, I want the peace that comes from You to rule in my heart because I am called to live in peace. And to always be thankful. And I do thank you Lord! Colossians 3:12-15
Father, even now, when I am praying, help me to first forgive anyone that I am holding a grudge against, so that You dear Father in heaven, will forgive my sins, too. Mark 11:25
Father, I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that You saved me for and want me to be. I know that I am still not all I should be, but Lord, I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. Jesus I am straining to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which You, through Christ Jesus, is calling me up to heaven. Philippians 3:13-15
Father, I cannot even begin to understand what You meant when You said, “I will forgive their wrongdoings, and I will never again remember their sins.” Father, You are talking about me. So help me Lord when I am tempted to judge others to do the same thing You do. Help me forgive them for what they have done against me. Hebrews 8:12
Jesus, You said that those who were without sin could cast the first stone at someone else’s sin. The truth is if I say that I don’t have sin, I am deceiving myself, but if I confess my sin you are faithful and just to forgive me from all my sins and unrighteousness! How then can I hold on to this stone? Lord, I put down the rock. I have been looking at the speck in their eye and ignoring the beam in my own eye. Lord, forgive my sins as I forgive those who have sinned against me. I choose to forgive! John 8:7; I John 1:8; Matthew 7:35, Matthew 6:12″ (1)
I make the decision today, once again, and as many times as I have to. I make the choice to let this go. To lay down the wrongs that have been done and to embrace forgiveness. I have no idea how to do it other than to trust Him to hold me. Trust Him that He will give me the strength and each time I hurt, each time I even sense it coming on I need to pray His truth to this situation. I have to also know that even though I forgive and let go I do not have to let these people back into my space, even if they are in my home or family or work. I can set boundaries to protect myself.
Thanks for letting me share!
(1 Credit for these scripture prayers goes to another Word Press Blog: http://sozo1.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/praying-the-word-bitterness-and-forgiveness/)