Trouble, perplexity, persecution, and rejection are all difficult to face. The Apostle Paul had all of these but understood that there is a power that will enable a person to face such treatment without distress, despair, self-pity, or ruin. It is the power of God. The end products of distress can definitely be bodily changes. Your blood pressure, respiration, and digestion can be affected.
If you have a grudge against someone, who are you hurting? Who is affected when you are seething over a person who isn’t even in your presence? Yourself, of course. The other person may not even know you are having trouble thinking about them in a positive way.
There is a power that will enable you to face your circumstances without distress. It is the power of God, made available to you through the dying of the Lord Jesus. God’s power–and His alone–can make you want to forgive a person who has misused you. You will know if forgiveness has taken over your mind and attitude by whether or not you want to get even.
Many argue that they have a right to be bitter. It is your privilege to be upset and miserable. But as long as you insist on retaining your misery, you will have it. The mere knowledge of sin, however, does not eliminate it or the problems that it causes. Wise is the person who heeds the advice of the apostle James:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard but, doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
The exhortation here is to people who want to be free from their trouble, who want to be lifted out of their sin. It is strange but many counselees who say they want relief from their upset condition, become all the more upset when I tell them that they do not need to be upset. One would think they would seize the opportunity to shed their spirit of bitterness and hate.
For many people yielding bitterness and hatred in exchange for a tender heart toward someone who doesn’t deserve it would not be a blessed relief but rather a great sacrifice. Untold numbers of people would like to be free from their aches and pains, yet many would rather face the aches and pains than relinquish a long-standing grudge.
A Willingness To Yield
The only solution is for a person to quit fighting and turn to God for a spirit of love toward someone who does not deserve it. And when you yield, the problem is nearly over. The Bible says it is your move:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
How does this change come about? By confessing or acknowledging that you have done wrong-that you have sinned. David wrote this about his sin:
There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor any
health in my bones because of my sin.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”–and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
When people pay attention to and take care of their own reaction to the other person’s sins instead of concerning themselves with what the other person has done, they find themselves on the road to peace.
To see your sin is disturbing only if you fight what you discover. If, instead, you admit it and seek help from God, the result is not guilt but an overwhelming sense of forgiveness, cleansing, renewal, and peace.
The pathway to spiritual peace is a struggle. Discover the truth about yourself and you will naturally shrink from it; become offended and defensive and you will be bound in the strong fetters of your sin. What a difference you will find if you just heed the promise of Jesus:
If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.