Sunday, August 8, 2010

Give It to God

 ...lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 
Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 
For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. 
-Hebrews 12:15b-17

If you've ever heard a sermon on this passage, you're probably familiar with the phrase, "Give it to God."  It's hard to grasp this when you've been hurt.  It's easy to let mean thoughts enter your mind, which eventually turn into bitterness.  Anyone who has dealt with bitterness will tell you that it will destroy you.  Habitually thinking evil of someone who did you harm is natural, but destructive.  The right thing to do is to give it to God, but how do you do that when you've been so hurt?

When I had to deal with bitterness in my own life, I got sick of people telling me, "Just let it go!"  I wanted to grab their necks and scream, "I can't let it go!  It's not that simple!"  If you have experienced the same frustration, it's absolutely true that it's not that simple.  Deep-rooted bitterness won't go away by sheer will-power; there must be an outside agent working to remove it.  This knowledge is the first step to uprooting hard feelings against someone.  You must be willing to allow God to do a work in your heart.  You must first want to change, or it's not going to happen.

In my own battle against bitterness, I had to come to the realization that in trying to take revenge on the offender, I was hurting only myself.  Thinking bad thoughts about the one to blame wasn't accomplishing anything!  What was I going to do, use the force to play mind tricks on them that would make them feel terrible?  When this hit me, I was more than happy to let God handle the situation.  You must face the reality that God can handle the situation a lot better than you.  All of those vengeful thoughts about wishing the wrongdoer would (you fill in the blank) -- God can do that, you can't!

After I truly gave my bitter situation over to God, I found a place of repentance for harboring wrong thoughts and trying to take control of a circumstance only God could fix.  In the passage at the top of the post, Esau shed many tears over losing his birthright, but bitterness was still alive and well in his heart.  How sad it would be if the story of your painful condition ended like Esau's: She found no place of repentance, though she sought it carefully with tears.  You CAN have victory over bitterness, but first you must take the responsibility of revenge off of yourself and give it to God.  He is always fair and will handle it way better than you ever could.

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