Friday, 29 June 2012

Uprooting Bitterness

My heart has been full of hurt and resentment. I have struggled against it. I have asked God to change it. So it was with a bit of a sigh that I read Gwen's post about "no root of bitterness" .

"Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that "no root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled..." Hebrews 12:14&15

I don't want my bitterness, but honestly, part of the problem is that I don't know how to let go of it. If someone hurts you, what exactly do you do? Do you ignore it? Pretend like it never happened? Do you turn your hatred to pity for their need to hurt others? Do you steel yourself so it won't hurt the next time? Do you distance your heart? Stop caring what people do and say to you? 

There is a real sense of powerlessness in being hurt, and it makes me desperate to get my sense of autonomy back. The hurt turns to resentment when I take back control, haul the rotten hurt-er up before the court of Me, and proclaim them guilty. The problem is, a guilty verdict means a sentence. So I lock them out of my
heart, since I can't lock them in. And then I'm the one left standing there, holding the key but unable or unwilling to let myself out and set myself free.

Oh, it's unfair from beginning to end. But what to do differently?

Again, with little faith but a grain of hope, I took my problem to the One who loves me best. I asked Him again to take over my heart and root out all the bitterness there; to un-try all those who have hurt me and change my hurt to His love. I didn't know what He would do, how He would do it. I was feeling rather hopeless about the whole mess anyway. I'd already tried, hadn't I?

Here's what God did: He drew my mind back and back over the words and actions that have hurt me most. Then he re-interpreted all of those things to mean something else. He let me see them, every one, from a different perspective, until I couldn't be sure the people who had said or done them were guilty after all. I mean, they could have been. Or not. It wasn't all that clear. Then I just had to give them up to the higher court of God's opinion and let him try them. It has been three days, and with every hurtful action or word, God has given me just enough doubt that I simply have to let Him judge. 

What a relief it is to not have to stand there inside the iron bars of my own heart, on guard against the next hurt! What peace to not really know; to hand over responsibility for my protection and my vindication to One who has the power and the wisdom to accomplish it!

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