Proverbs 10:12 NIV
When we hold on to resentment it feels like there’s a war going on inside of us. We end up in a battle with ourselves, as well as others. Bitterness takes us over and we’re left hurt and angry. We’re constantly trying to figure out who’s right and who’s wrong. We can end up spending so much time trying to out-do, out-shout, and out-manoeuvre others that we lose our peace and joy. Sound familiar? Resentment can take root in us all. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can end our conflicts with others and let go of resentment. That seems easier said than done. When bitterness has taken hold of us, it can be very challenging to let things go. But we can’t allow someone else’s actions to determine our reactions. We can’t control what other people do, but we can control how we respond to it. When we hold on to bitterness and resentment, we not only keep conflicts going, but we also deny ourselves the opportunity to heal. We’re the ones who remain unhappy and hurt, when God has designed it that we should hand it all over to Him and exercise forgiveness instead. The Bible says that ‘hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.’ We need to let the love and peace of God fill our minds so much that it overflows to others – including those who have upset us. Do we really want to be like the person who hurt us? What would Jesus do? He’d turn the other cheek (see Matthew 5:39). We need to ask God to help us release our anger, turn the other cheek, and forgive the people who have hurt us.
Exo 1-3; Luke 11:29-44; Ps 40:9-17; Prov 6:6-8
Proverbs 10:12 NKJV
When you hold on to resentment it feels like there’s a war going on inside you. You’re in a battle with yourself, as well as others. And the more you fight, the more ground you lose. Arguing just drains you of energy and leaves you more hurt and angry. You’re in a no-win situation. You struggle with who’s right and who’s wrong. You spend so much time trying to out-do, out-shout, and out-maneuver others that you lose your peace and joy. End the conflict now! Refuse to live this way another day. Don’t allow someone’s actions to determine your reactions. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). Don’t become Satan’s next meal. Let the love and peace of God fill your mind so much that it overflows to others – including those who have upset you. Stop and think: Do you really want to be like the person who hurt you? What would Jesus do? You know! He’d turn the other cheek (See Matthew 5:39). “But,” you ask, “what about the wrong done to me?” What about it? It’s not for you to impose judgment. There’s only one qualified judge; let Him handle it (See James 4:12). Ask God to help you to release your anger, turn the other cheek, and forgive the one who has done you wrong. Pray this simple prayer: “Lord, I’m angry. Help me to let it go. I choose to be merciful. Thank You for giving me the grace to forgive the person who hurt me and to follow You. In Jesus’ name: Amen.”
Soul food: Exo 1-3; Luke 11:29-44; Ps 40:9-17; Prov 6:6-8
Mark 5:17 NLT
The Bible says when “those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs…the crowd began pleading with Jesus to…leave them alone” (vv. 16-17 NLT). They had just witnessed an astounding miracle, yet here they were “pleading with Jesus to leave them alone.” Maybe they were afraid He’d interfere with their livelihood, like He did with the owner of the pigs. Or they thought He was so powerful and unpredictable they didn’t want Him messing with their lives. Either way, they wanted no part of what Jesus had to offer. “Leave me alone, God!” Maybe you haven’t used those exact words, but are there areas in your life you’d just as soon He didn’t get involved in? Pastor Mark Roberts says: “If we put into words our secret thoughts, mightn’t they sound something like this: ‘You can have me when it comes to my family life, but leave me alone at work.’ Or, ‘You’re welcome to touch my public actions, but don’t mess with my daydreams.’ Or, ‘I’m willing to give You a tithe of my income, but leave the rest of my money alone.’ Or, ‘I’m happy to have You in my life, Jesus, but don’t ask me to forgive my parents.’ Or, ‘I want You to be my Lord…but I want to hang on to certain areas of behavior…to keep on sinning in certain ways and resist You when it comes to certain relationships.” God wants all, not just a part of you. He wants to be Lord of every aspect of your life – including those areas where you’d like to be left to your own devices.
Soul food: Rom 3:21-6:23; Luke 5:1-11; Ps 91; Prov 3:3-4
Ephesians 4:31 MSG
Some of us excel in our careers, but act like a bull in a china shop when it comes to our relationships. Then we rationalize it by saying, “I didn’t mean any harm,” or “That’s just my way.” Sorry, God doesn’t let us off the hook that easily. When someone irritates you, God requires you to do two things: (1) Be the first to reach out. You may be right, but if you’re resentful, what good is it? Instead of nursing a grudge or waiting for the other person to apologize, be first to reach out. Someone else’s response neither validates nor invalidates your decision to forgive. Think about it: If you had only a year to live, would you give such things another second of your time? No! The Bible says, “Forgiving…as God…has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 NLT). God made the first move in forgiving us so we’d know how to do it for others. (2) Be understanding. When some of us argue our point, we bulldoze everybody and everything in our way. Purpose-driven, time-conscious, goal-oriented people can be guilty of this. The Bible says, “Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God…forgave you.” Chances are the people who get under your skin aren’t trying to complicate your life; they’re struggling to cope with their own. Once you understand there’s no ill will intended, you begin to feel compassion for them. That’s how it is with God. “He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle” (Isaiah 42:3 NLT). Today, ask Him to help you show His love toward those who irritate you.
Soul food: Isa 49-52; Luke 3:11-20; Ps 81; Prov 2:11-15
Romans 14:12 NIV
Ever seen a flamethrower in a film? It’s a fiery torch designed to destroy people. ‘Blame-throwers’ do the same. When life doesn’t go their way, instead of taking responsibility for their decisions and actions they blame others. We can often become blame-throwers, blaming others for things that happen, and don’t happen, in our lives. It often sounds something like this: We reacted in anger because someone wound us up too much. We can’t change because this is how we’ve been brought up. We failed at our task because we weren’t given enough support. But the Bible says: ‘Each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.’ We will have to explain our thoughts, actions and words. Not with lots of excuses and blame-shifting but with truth and integrity. The problem with shifting the blame is that it stops us from taking constructive action and moving on with our lives. It’s true that not everything is our fault. Sometimes other people are to blame for the things in our lives. But there’s something we’re always responsible for, and that’s our reaction. How we react to a circumstance or a person, is up to us. In Proverbs, it says: ‘Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy’ (28:13 NIV). We need to admit to God when we’ve gone wrong. Let’s not blame others and find excuses for why we reacted the way we did. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we stumble and fall. But we always have a God who’s ready to pick us up, forgive us and give us the strength to go forwards again.
Exo 10-12; John 1:29-42; Ps 29; Prov 26:4-6