August 3, 2010

My chains are gone, I've been set free

I do not publish all the posts that I write on my blog. I used to treat blogging as a way to vent about whatever the heck I wanted to. I have come far from those days and I find blogging as another way to process my life and in a small way, be held accountable to what I express. Along the way if my friends, family and strangers gain from what this life brings to my path then success! There are times that I write novel-length posts and never publish them. It seems one moment I'm facing a giant and the next I have overcome it, making the post irrelevant or contrary to the summation of what I learned from my debacle.

Recently I re-read an unpublished post from the beginning of the summer. Re-living my fears, anger and bitterness towards my giant, but recognizing the growth where my thoughts of hatred turned to love, compassion and hope. Deep, honest and ballsy, the post pulled back the curtain on the truth of what a roller coaster summer this has been. Life is a roller coaster, isn't it?

I'm not going to publish the post, it's too personal to blindly release to, God knows who, reads this. But I want to share with you one of the most important truths I think a person could grasp. The condition of your heart is of most importance. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. {Proverbs 4:23} I heard a pastor put it this way, "The condition of your heart is what creates the lens of which you view your world". I'm not sure where the cynical snide remarks come from, when the issues of our hearts are plastered in our face. Laugh it off, shrug your shoulders, roll your eyes...sound familiar? As much as it makes you feel uncomfortable, just try and read this with an open and willing heart.

I dabbled in bitterness this summer, and if I'm being honest last semester too. I really didn't see it, or realize how gripped I was by it. In a snare, I was blind to what poisoned my mind. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. {Hebrews 12:15}

It started by an offense and instead of choosing to shake it off, I dwelled on it. I have a choice to be offended or not. It doesn't lessen the hurt that the offense causes, but the choice to either learn to spit it out, or swallow it up- which in return leads to anger, still remains. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. {Ephesians 4:26} If we do not choose to forgive our offender and move on, our anger turns into resentment.

Unforgiveness is prolonged anger and resentment. When we choose not to forgive, we see others with scorn and some people (I'm guilty) keep a chronicle of each crime against them in their mind, like a cerebral journal. [Love] keeps no record of being wronged. {1Corinthians 13:5} I'm not generally someone who holds grudges, but unforgiveness has a sister named grudge. Literally, by not forgiving others you chain yourself to your ill feelings or memory's of that person, and you hold it against them. It's kind of funny because we often feel like we "win" in the end if we don't forgive, if we hold something against them...but in all honesty, we trap ourselves in a miserable life because by not forgiving our "enemies" they will continue to haunt us in our memories.

Bitterness is a spiritual ulcer which is the result of an unhealed wound. If your mind has been poisoned by bitterness then, you most certainly see others with hatred. If hatred consumes your heart and you are trapped in bitterness, then the lens of which you view your world, is tainted. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. {Ephesians 4:31} Forgiveness is the first step to healing.

Forgiveness is an act of will. It's difficult to forgive because its letting go. God says, "vengeance is mine", and forgiving takes trusting in Him. One thing I have learned is the day when you feel like forgiving will never come. You will never feel like forgiving someone. I learned that I had to let go, trust and obey. We are called to forgive one another, and it was a matter of putting down my own pride. Who am I to hold something against someone else? I surely am not blamless.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. {Matthew 6:14}

Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven". {John 20:22-23}

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. {Luke 6:27-28}

I can forgive only because I have been forgiven. It is a choice and an act of will, but we don't have to do it all in our own strength. I think its something that after giving the gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, Jesus goes straight into talking about forgiving one another. The Holy Spirit living and active in me is the only reason why I am free from the chains of bitterness today. Reading that old post is a reminder of that growth. I am my biggest proof that their is a God. Me! For without him, I would be nothing, and with Him my heart has changed and I continue to grow in His holy ways. It was no act of "good" that has led me on His path, it was just a matter of surrendering control to God and humbly asking for His help. It took hitting a low point in my life, when all i could look, was up.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

wow....susan I love your entry! especially what you said about the condition of your heart!! thats beautiful! so inspirational :)

<3 sarah