Most anyone can retrieve the mental image of a person who insulted or offended us. We can recall the event, the words, and the stinging hurt. We review the details and promise ourselves anew to avoid that spiteful human, whatever it takes. Or if we cannot avoid him, we freeze the relationship, and allow the icy chill of aloofness to mark the reunion.
Did someone come to mind? Do you find as the years pass, the memory grows stronger and the bile generated by the review tastes nastier?
Please note. The person who wronged me has likely moved on and forgotten the episode. The only person I harm with the renewed bitterness is me. The Apostle Paul provides a description of the mental load I generate as I revive the injury. Read his words slowly:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:32 (NASB)
What if there was a way to shed that nasty load? Consider this DIY alternative:
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 (NASB)
Start with the phrase “just as God in Christ also has forgiven you”. I promise you I have done more to insult, offend, and hurt God than all the hurters in my life combined have stung me. Yet He, because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, forgives me. Willingly. Lovingly. Completely. Repeatedly.
We must forgive and replace the venom with kindness. It’s hard at first, but once peace floods our soul and our steps become lighter, we will be amazed at the difference. We’ll become proficient forgivers.
2014 is just around the corner. Is there any baggage we should leave behind?