Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bitterness & Maturity

Here is my big take-away for the week:
 It is easy to be bitter.
Yes, it is.
I discovered this week that a person I had blessed had stolen from me. I was ignored by someone I reached out to and needed to hear back from. I was turned on and called bitter, ugly things by someone I love and cherish. It was a hard week.
Yes, it was.
We've had a long season of instances where we can show example after example of being ripped off, taken from, spoken badly about, reviled. And through all of that I will confess, I have been grieved and, just to honest, really, really torqued. I did not (once again) handle myself with patience and longsuffering this week. I gave vent to my anger and my disappointment. I was immature. And, I probably wished out loud that the person/people who have taken what is not theirs would have to pay, the people who ignored would feel the hurt and the helplessness, the person who lashed out  with ugly, hurtful words and insults would listen to what I had to say. Yeah, I gave way to my self. I wanted to hurt back. At the very least I wanted to close off, be superior, be above being touched; be the kind of person who has my ducks in a row and doesn't give generously, doesn't reach out, doesn't respond with transparency. I wanted to be one of those Christians who looks good and do little; gets the points, without the pain.

My husband and I talked this morning about bitterness. He is hurt and angry too, which is rare for him. He has considered making a  phone call, setting the record straight. But in the end, what will it help? Not much. So we have a decision to make. We can demand our "rights," which are clear and many. Or we can move on. I believe wholeheartedly that there are times when we are called to demand the rightness of a situation; justice is a defining theme in our lives. But, I also believe that we are often called to allow our work, our stuff, our characters to be taken and used. Sometimes we are compensated, often we are not. Sometimes we are thanked and blessed, often we are not. I just want, c'mon Lord, seriously, the well-formed maturity.
I heard Romans 12:1 yesterday. And it struck me. Giving up my rights in all three of these instances was just what Romans 12:1 was talking about.

Place Your Life Before God
 1-2 So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I need my attention fixed on God. I want Him to bring out the best in me. And that means that I have to walk away from the easy- the bitterness; for my own sake. In order to find well-formed maturity.


Lillian said...

Excellent reminder! One thing I would add, I don't think maturity means we don't have a visceral reaction. I don't think it means we aren't hurt or angry. I don't even think it necessarily means we have to stay quiet at the time. I do think it means we move on, and when the anger/bitterness raises it's head again, because it likely will, we hand it back to God instead of stewing on it. As Lewis Smedes said: “When we forgive evil we do not excuse it, we do not tolerate it, we do not smother it. We look the evil full in the face, call it what it is, let its horror shock and stun and enrage us, and only then do we forgive it.”

I am sorry you have had to face all of this, this past week. I will be praying for you.

Lily-Thinking Thoughts

LaughingLioness said...

Thanks, Lillian. Love the quote from Smedes! I appreciate your prayers!!