Thursday, November 8, 2012

Challenging the roots of bitterness

Sitting in a room all alone/
Trying to keep the tears off the page.
I’ve never been so hurt by anyone/
Does anyone deserve this pain?

I used to be a visionary, an optimist. I saw the best in everyone, never had an enemy... As I’ve grown older I’ve realized - people are people. They are not perfect. They make mistakes. Sometimes they are malicious.

I’ve been through seasons where I struggled with being hurt by other people, but I have to confess: the last few months have been one of the most extended periods I’ve experienced of battling with feelings of loneliness, rejection, or mistreatment. Notice I say battling. I believe that key word explains why this has been an extended season. You see, this time the Lord has revealed to me that it’s my feelings, not the person, that create a struggle. And I quote: The problem’s not the problem; my perception is the problem.

There’s been a series of small incidents with people that I love dearly (I’m still pretty good at ignoring people who aren’t close to me), incidents in which I’m so tempted to feel overlooked or judged. I want to avoid these people, or confront them and show them how wrong and rude they are, or maybe just make them feel that I don’t like them. On the other hand, the rational part of me knows that none of the events were meant to be spiteful.Maybe it’s not the rational part of me. Maybe it’s the Spirit. He is our Counselor, the One who brings conviction of sin and repentance. The one who reminds me to redirect my thoughts....

When I think about all that you’ve done for me/
The separation and the sacrifice made/
The distance gone to set all creation free/
The debt to sin has surely been paid.

And if my thoughts are directed heavenward, do those incidents, even in the worst of light, really matter? I am reminded that I should keep the forgiveness I’ve been given in the forefront of my mind.

The hypothetical written form of these concepts took shape in my mind as I drove to school this morning. I've been contemplating the growth which God is continually accomplishing in me, and felt relieved to see the lesson in between the lines.

Guess what? God reminded me that obedience brings testing. It did. We had an incident at school, a change to a committee decision, a change that did not directly affect me, but it did infuriate me. I'm sure my pride was a part, but another part was my defense of those that it did affect. In His grace, God kept me calm. While I did take the matter to my principal, I spoke not out of emotion, but out of the issue, and I was able to focus on the problem, not the people. And more importantly - perhaps, perhaps I will even be able to continue to smile and love the malicious and bitter. They need Jesus. I have Him.

And I lose myself in You/
And all the things that You do.
And slowly I forget about myself.
The waiting seems too slow/
When I know You’re always there/
And slowly I forget about myself.
(Lyrics from Forget About Myself, Constant Halo)