I have been listening to a teaching on bitterness for the past several months, and the Lord is really using it in my life. When I started it, I wondered how it would play out…would I become aware of hidden bitterness? It turns out that I have, and I’m sure there is more to be revealed. Anyway, I just am struck today by the way these past 2 weeks have happened in regard to this lesson in bitterness coming full circle.
2 weeks ago, my good friend shared with me something; she was not being confrontational really, but God used it internally as something I needed to be confronted about. Basically, I was holding a lot of judgment and critical opinions about someone, truly thinking I had learned something they didn’t know; without ever coming to grips with it fully, I had believed I was right and they were wrong. Regardless of who is right or wrong, it was seething under the surface and would come out every now and then if others brought it up. Self-righteousness was winning over love. That’s the bottom line.
Well, I saw how it was hurting people, finally I saw it. I had done the same thing to Jack, also, in marriage through the years and had repented of that, so it was a familiar problem. That next day at church, I had time to work through it with God, and made an altar so to speak to lay down the ugly sin (I didn’t think it was ugly before, I thought it was deserved and true and just). Knowing that you can starve a thought to death, I committed to no longer dwell on or speak of these opinions again. I asked God to remove them from my heart completely, and while the facts still exist of what they believe vs. what I believe, I don’t care anymore. They are God’s and I am God’s, and He is in charge of what we need to know right now.
That very day, after releasing these people, God in turn set me free. He was waiting for me to show grace SO THAT He could offer to me grace in the same proportion. I know He is merciful and good and shows grace even when we don’t, but He wanted me to understand this spiritual law of Matthew 7…the same measure I show grace, that is the measure in which I will receive it myself. His grace to me came in the form of showing me the invisible enemy who was wreaking havoc on my life; He opened my eyes to victory over some things that had really been lessening my joy.
Then a couple days ago, this yucky conversation happened with my loved one where I was the object of her judgment and unsolicited opinions. It was important for me to see that I have done this to so many people…these people I have mentioned, Jack, and others in the past. It was like God was showing me what it looks like to…well, just not love. Love hasn’t been my crusade. People doing their best, people getting what they deserve, people changing “for the better”, that was my crusade. Maybe I am a hippie, but I’m not sure what good any of that does when we’d rather have justice than mercy.
I was thinking about it today, after listening to more of the teaching on bitterness, how God did not get justice and how He did not show justice to me, but instead mercy. God does not deserve to have to put up with me; He certainly does not deserve to love me, a wandering sheep. Oh, how He deserves a fiery love! When He sent His Son to die for me, justice was not done. There was nothing just or fair about it. It was mercy. And that is why I’m finally, finally, getting a glimpse of understanding on how to love others. Even if I’m poorly loved, even if I never get out of someone what they really should give me, (everything from store cashiers to my children!), I want to choose to love. Accept. Show mercy over justice. Let God be their Potter, not me.