Thought about God

Published May 17, 2019
You Never Let Go . .

“Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.” Psalm 73:21 (NLT)

Has your heart ever been bitter?
It is so easy to allow bitterness to hold a death grip on our life; when our life doesn’t turn out like we think it should, when we see other people receiving accolades that we feel are due to us and not them, when we God seems distant in our greatest time of need, when friends let us down, when evil people are seemingly blessed and those whole heartedly following God are punished.

I confess I have struggled with bitterness at various times in my life.  I can recall one of those times very clearly . . .

We had a friendship but it wasn’t always easy.  She always seemed to hold something back.  We would be traveling along pretty smoothly in our relationship and then all of a sudden it was as if I ran smack into a wall – to high to climb to wide to go around.  It was disheartening and I found myself often questioning why we were friends.  Then time and differences took us a part . . .

A couple of years later God brought us back together and I wondered if the relationship would be the same.  For a while it seemed different, she was openly sharing some really difficult struggles.  These struggles were pretty huge and I began fasting and praying weekly for her.  Then slowly our relationship began to erode and we went our separate ways.

A few of years later the tables were turned and I now found myself in a series of difficult situations but she was nowhere to be seen.  I was hurt.  I had been there for her why wasn’t she there for me?  And if that weren’t enough I began to see God’s blessing poured out in her life and the hurt burrowed deep into my heart.

I drank the poison, allowing bitterness to do its insidious work in my life.  It colored everything; my circumstances, my relationship with God, my relationship with my family and other friends.  I could feel myself pulling inward in self-protection mode.  I knew it wasn’t healthy but had no power within me to stop.  I became judgmental and jaded.

But God never let go of me during this time.  He never gave up on me.

Look at what the writer of Psalm 73 says as he continues his conversation with God. . .

I was so foolish and ignorant – I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.  Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  I desire you more than anything on earth.  My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.  (Psalm 73:22-26 NLT)

Yet I still belong to You . . . even in the midst of my bitterness I still belonged to God.  He didn’t give up on me or let me go!  And He doesn’t give up on you or let you go either!  He is ours forever!

That difficult time allowed me to see God in a way I had never seen Him before and it showed me how easily I can lose my way and turn my heart away from the One who loves me the most.

That friendship has never been restored but God has taught me to pray for blessing in her life and through that He has set me free from the bitterness that so long ensnared me and kept me from truly growing in my walk with Him.  I whole heartedly echo the words of the Psalmist. . .

“Whom have I in heaven but YOU?  I desire YOU more than anything on earth!  My spirit may grow weak but God remains the STRENGTH of my heart; He is mine FOREVER!  (Psalm 73:25-26 NLT)

Thank you Lord, for never letting go and never giving up on me!

by Kristi Huseby
Used by Permission

Costly Forgiveness
Published May 17, 2019
Costly Forgiveness
Please open your Bible and read: Matthew 18:21-35

Our forgiveness toward others should have no limitations.
God’s unconditional pardon of our sins destroys any excuse we might devise for holding onto bitterness. Though we may try to draw a line at the number of times we’ll accept apologies, or attempt to categorize which offenses we’ll pardon, Jesus drew no lines at the cross.

We also want to hang onto resentment instead of forgiving instantly. This is not scriptural. Whenever we cling to unforgiveness – even for a short time – Satan gains a stronghold. If the Father’s will is that we forgive, why must we think about it? We need to get our thinking done now: decide today that you will respond to hurts and humiliation with forgiveness.

We walk in a spirit of forgiveness when we understand that God is sovereign over this universe. Nothing hurtful can touch us unless it passes through His permissive will. That is not to say God instigated or caused it; however, God allows some unpleasant situations so that He can utilize our hurt to develop character, to expose weak spots, or to drive us closer to Him.

Forgiveness is painful and costly. Jesus felt every nail, every thorn. As the forgiver, we must bear wrongdoing  without retaliation. But as believers, we trust Jesus Christ to take that pressure off us. We can rely on the Lord to provide both wisdom and the strength take God – pleasing action. When we forgive, we need to approach our offender with the intent of reconciliation, doing whatever God directs to get our relationship right. Jesus did that for us.

By Dr. Charles Stanley

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