I had a long conversation today with a good friend. I confessed to him that I’ve been struggling lately with some pretty negative emotions toward a person that is focused on shining a negative light on myself and my family related to business. The things he has shared with others about us are slanderous and have been harmful to our reputation. As a result, I’ve been finding myself “disliking” him with a fair amount of my thought life lately. I always thought I had some experience despising someone but it turns out I’ve never despised anyone until now.
I share this because I’ve comitted to being transparent in this environment and this is the thing that has gripped me lately. I haven’t talked much about it until today and have kept most of it to myself. Because of this bottling of my feelings, I got fairly worked up as I shared with my friend. I was embarrased…not by the fact that I was crying like a baby, but by the fact that I have spent as much energy as I have “disliking” someone. There were several things stirring in me that caused me to loose composure today but in one way or another they revolved around this person I’ve been hating.
Anyhow, today I learned a valuable lesson about what it looks like to love well when our friends are hurting.
Here are a few of the take aways from my conversation with my friend today that really blessed me:
* He heard me all the way out with two ears and one mouth, just as they were proportioned to him in the first place.
* When I was finished unloading, he let it breath for a moment. He gave us both a second to consider the theropy that takes place in times of weakness.
* He told me a couple stories from his own life that enabled me to realize I wasn’t alone in feeling this way.
* He reminded me that as believers, we are called to a different reaction in the face of our enemy. From his memory he began sharing a passage with me from Romans 12 in the Bible… Here it is…
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I’ve read this passage a hundred times but today it ministered to me for real. Like much of what Jesus expects of us, this too is counter-intuitive, it goes against our instinct. The idea of loving those that oppose us is foreign and frankly…silly…in our own strength. The reminder of the day for me is that MY OWN STRENGTH SUCKS! In my own strength I find myself wasting time and energy thinking about the intentions and misinterpretations of others when all the while, I could be thanking God for all that he is, and all that he’s done, and all that he is doing on my behalf. Today marks the day that I set aside thoughts of ill will and re-remember that my purpose is found in the God of the universe, and his profound love for me!
To my friend:
Thank you for loving well today my brother…you called on His word to awaken me and He moved in me through it!
Here are a couple quotes from smarter guys than me that reek of wisdom in light of Jesus….
“Revenge is a passion unbecoming of the children of God”
“A man who studies revenge keeps his own wounds green. Men must not turn into bees and kill themselves in stinging others.” Francis Bacon
I always like to use pictures in my posts and I think this one appropriately speaks to how good God is to me…He has blessed me with Elijah, and the White Sox!…and lots of other stuff of coarse:)
PS: I’ve been making egg rolls lately…lots of them, and I’ve been taking pictures and making notes…stay tuned:)
6 thoughts on “A Confession…”
Wow John, thank you for sharing this, I too am wrestling with a similiar situation, and your blog just made me realize that I am the prisoner here…..I think this is going to be a great message to many! I pray that each person that reads this entry is ministered to and set free of that bondage, and to even have an opportunity to bless the individual they may be struggling with!
What a wonderful testament to how God takes care of us and provides what we need at the moment when we need it. It’s a constant battle between our flesh and spirit and when we live in the power of God only then can we overcome the world.
I, like you, often quoted the scripture “you will heap burning coals on his head” not really taking into consideration my part in the scripture hence “love your enemies and do good unto them” (Luke 6). Our flesh and emotions are real and that’s how God made us but He has given us the power and wisdom if we but ask to die daily to ourselves so that Christ can live more abundantly in us.
Love you blog…..Blessings…cousin Ollie
And when he comes to mind…and he will…ask God to do a work in his life…it will change him and you. We know in part and see dimly…faith believes that which it cannot see. Thanks for keeping it real…and relevant!
What freedom there is in the power of confession. I think we have all experienced the hurt that we can cause ourselves when we can not forgive someone for the wrong they have done to us. For me, when I have been unable to forgive I find myself locked behind a prison door, stuck and unable to move into the future. Unforgiveness holds us in the past, visiting old wounds and replaying the hurt in our mind. How fortunate the believer is to have the power of the Holy Spirit to do what often I am unable to do by myself, forgive.
Blessings to you today!
Great post John. I, too, have found forgiveness a lot easier in theory. I rarely feel genuinely wronged/offended that I can get too confident in my own graciousness. It’s when we feel truly sinned against that we’re able to see the real extent of our need for God’s Spirit to enable us to forgive. Thanks for sharing.
Ha ha I remember way back in the Signal days being very upset at you because your knee jerk reaction against the Christian principle of “turning the other cheek.” I don’t think my reaction was the best example of what Christian forgiveness looks like so if you are struggling with it I take the blame. 🙂
There is also the classic Crossroads line: bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.