I hate it when life goes from Technicolor to black and white and icky feelings creep into my heart.
They’ve usually hitched a ride on unkind thoughts spawned of misunderstandings, less than stellar behavior, or the more common varieties of thoughtlessness. It doesn’t matter if I’m the victim or the perpetrator. Either way the track plays over and over. Side A is called Justification and on the flip side is a song called Blame.
None of it pleases God. None of it blesses others.
It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of love.
As children of God we have at our disposal an unlimited reservoir of love.
. . .because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
A love so powerful, so complete, it allows us to love everyone. Even those who offend us, especially those who offend us.
Forgiveness is the stiff wind that blows away the gloom of icky feelings.
Forgiveness is letting go of the hurt and allowing the love of God to flow from my heart toward that person once again. It’s relinquishing my right to ‘feel’ offended and surrendering the moral high ground of ‘aren’t they so awful’, look how they treated me.
What if I’m the one that did the hurting?
What if my words, my judgment, my selfishness were the cause of another’s pain?
The cloud of icky is gonna hang on like San Francisco fog in June until I fess up, humble myself, and personally accept responsibility.
And—it brings my spiritual life to a grinding halt. FULL STOP.
God isn’t gonna overlook it because I’m not comfortable with conflict resolution. The discomfort of the whole thing will etch itself deeply in memory and serve as a deterrent in the future. He insists on reconciliation.
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
We can’t control what others think or say.
That’s between them and God, but we can exert significant influence over our own thoughts. What we think will lead to what we say.
Jesus said it this way:
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
“The tongue is the tail of the heart. The heart is known by how the tongue wags.”
We’ve been ministering in Africa for weeks now and I’ve heard teachings from the book of Philippians over and over again.
Here’s God’s counsel on setting up a filter for our thoughts:
~ worthy of praise
think about these things.
Remember the Petri dishes in Biology class? Our hearts are like Petri dishes, they’ll grow and multiply the thoughts we introduce.
James tells us the tongue can be a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
If our thoughts pass through the 8 filters listed in Philippians we won’t create icky feelings in others. And the hurts we experience simply can’t grow in the pure environment of these filters. The good in our hearts shrivels up the icky feelings and we know the God of peace is with us.
photo credit: Richard Loader unsplash.com