Posted on April 27, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters
The bitterness to which they felt had settled in their heart a long time ago. The pain becomes vivid at times, even making them feel it as if the circumstances are happening all over again. Deep breaths are impossible; If they close their eyes they can almost see the bitterness and hate… each is like a heavy bag weighing down their hands making it so they cannot receive anything else. There are several lies they have grasped hold of that keeps this bitterness firmly in their grip… One lie is that self-righteousness gives them power and the right to condemn. Another is that the pain is what gives them purpose, it is what makes them feel alive. And the final lie is when they get revenge they will feel better… “when those who caused my pain feel worse then I do, I will be okay.” What they don’t realize is these lies have them in bondage and fill them up with bitterness, like boiling cups overflowing. They don’t see that the only one being destroyed is themselves… from the inside out.
It’s not till we let go of the vengeance, hatred, pride, self-righteousness, victimization, and bitterness… allowing them all to fall from our grip, that our hands will be open to receive the peace we desire; a peace found only in our God.
Forgiveness is the catalyst to this happening and grace is its power. The simple directions are, ‘to forgive as Christ has forgiven you’; and to do it ‘70 times 7’ times. I know this process is hard to grasp when we rely on our own understanding. Lifting our eyes above the amount of painful baggage we struggle to hold on to is not an easy choice for us to make. Realizing that the hurt is not giving our lives purpose, and understanding that God is not changing our circumstance because He wants to change our hearts… can be hard to grasp through the shadows of bitterness and death. But even there, God… You are with me; your strength, compassion, mercy, guidance, and love comfort me. In the presence of my pain and anger, You prepare a feast of provision for me. As I release my grip on vengeance and self-righteousness, You honor me by anointing my head with the oil of Your Spirit, so much so that my cup overflows with grace… in spite of my painful circumstances.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me into the darkness of bitterness and hate that consumes my heart; You will do this all the days of my life. And I will find rest for my soul in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalms 23:5-6)
Because of the extraordinary life of holiness that God created me for, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of struggle to keep me in constant touch with my limitations and needs. Satan’s angel does his best to get me down; what he, in fact, does though is push me to my knees in prayer… crying out to my God. There is no place for pride and self-righteousness to grow there on my knees!
I struggle with the idea that my suffering is a gift, how can something that hurts so much be good? I beg God to remove it. Many times I cried before Him until He finally told me, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’ Once I heard this I was glad to let it all happen. I quit focusing on the suffering and began appreciating His gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take suffering in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! “And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become” (2 Cor 12:7-10).
The release of the heavy burden in my hands comes when I am honest enough to admit, ‘I am just as guilty of sinning against God as the one who hurt me.’ It’s this realization that drove David to his knees, crying out, “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have left You out of my motives, thoughts, and desires. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.” As the bags of self-righteousness, bitterness, and hate all fall from my grasp, He ‘restores to me the joy of His ’so great a salvation’, and through a new understanding of His love and grace, God makes me ‘willing’ to obey Him” (Psalms 51:4-6, 12).
What’s in your hands? What are you holding so tightly that you eliminate any possibility of having ‘open hands’ to receive Gods sufficient grace? It is available right now for the taking… You only need to drop the self-righteousness, anger, bitterness, and pride that blinds you to God’s gift. What painful circumstance will it take for you to release your grip on these things… Or will you allow them to carry you right into hell? God will fill you up with His sufficient grace, you only need to have open hands to receive it.
Praying 4 U
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church. He is the author of two devotional books, “From a Chair by the Window.” And “#PrayerWinsThe Day”.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:3