It hurts when you harbor anger and unforgiveness.
Someone once said that harboring unforginveness is like mixing a poisonous drink for your enemy, and then, drinking the poison yourself. Anger only hurts you.
Take Melany’s dad for example. He became bitter over the loss of his son. (Read Melany’s story posted on Nov 17th) Bitterness is one of the emotions we experience when struck by the ache of grief. It is also a sign of harbored resentment towards someone or some circumstance. Bitterness can also flow from regret. Once people become bitter, depression usually follows and they lose their passion for life.
Perhaps Melany’s dad felt regret about what he could have done to save his son. Maybe you have regrets. You only multiply the pain of your suffering when you hold on to resentment. The good news is freedom from bitterness caused by pain is possible.
Relief comes when you and I stop thinking about what could have been, and instead, count the cost of our loss. I know this is a hard step, but go ahead and review your losses.
Have you lost your future with a company? Perhaps you’ve lost a child? Do you regret not being able to see him or her grow up? Write down your loss and give it to God. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.” God is a reliable source in which we can lean on. Why, because He loves us. God doesn’t waste our pain or our losses. Instead, He can bring beauty from ashes if we’ll let Him. The Lord promises in Romans 8:28 that He’ll “cause all things to work together for good.” Count the cost. Give God your loss. And let Him give you back something greater.
Next, to conquer resentment you must change your mind. To change our mind means to go against how the world thinks we should respond. The world’s theory is based on an immoral mind that is hostile towards God and seeks its own desires. This attitude can be summed up in this familiar slogan, “Don’t’ get mad; get even.” That philosophy only feeds your hatred and anger.
God’s way is the true avenue to healing and restored joy. Getting into God’s Word teaches you what is good, holy, acceptable and right. As you saturate yourself in God’s Word, you will find that His truths lift you up instead of keeping you down. Not only will you become able to accept God’s will for your life and let go your losses, but you will also find the strength to forgive.
Finally, we must forgive. Every situation is different. It may be that we need to forgive ourselves. Or, like Melany’s dad, we have to forgive the person who sold our son the alcohol. Perhaps you have forgiven, but the feelings of anger are still there.
I have found that once I’ve given my anger to God and forgiven my adversary, I then have to follow through with my actions. Somehow acting out what I’ve committed to Christ brings about change in my heart and healing for my soul. The heart (and emotions) always follow our actions. To feel peace, you must forgive and then practice what you preach. How? By putting action to your commitment.
You can put action to your commitment to forgive by praying for your enemy. Ask God to bless the friend that has hurt you. Pray for the drug addict that broke into your home and you will conquer your fears that keep you awake at night. Show kindness to your spouse even when he or she isn’t kind to you will bring healing and restoration. This is not the world’s way. Nor is it Satan’s way. He will tell you that you have a right to be angry and get even. On the other hand, God asks you to change your thinking, trust His heart, forgive your offender, and show it in your actions. If you feel that you’re too weak, guess what my friend? You don’t have to go it alone.
If you are tired and weary from caring a heavy burden of regret or bitterness then God invites you to come to Him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28)
If you will bring your burden to Jesus, then He promises to come along side of you and help you carry it. Whatever it is, it’s not too heavy for Him. He is sufficient to heal your heart.
Something to think about:
1.) Why are you holding on to your anger?
2.) Do you realize that in holding on to resentment, you’re causing yourself undue pain and misery?
3.) Will you consider counting the cost of your loss and then give your losses to God? why or why not?
4.) In what ways have your expressed forgiveness? How has this step brought peace to your heart?
Praying for you today.