How God’s Love Changes Us (Part 2)

How God’s Love Changes Us (part 2)

Last week, shame and self-contempt were touched on, and how God’s love changes how we see ourselves and deal with hurts (both past and present).
What about the contempt we feel for others? How do we reconcile that within our hearts? Bring it to the Lord.

Okay… but what if I have brought it to the Lord and I still can’t seem to let go and be released from resentment? What if I have prayed about it and yet I still find myself restless, irritable and discontented when it comes to this particular person or situation? Then what?

KEEP PRAYING.

I believe if you are still in the journey of forgiveness, trying actively to work through pain or resentment, God is teaching you something through it. There are plenty of people I have been able to easily forgive, regardless of the damage they may have caused. Others have not come as easily, even as I know Christ. Part of the process of forgiveness, as a human, is to forgive ourselves as well. Often times when I am struggling to let go of something, it is deeply rooted in my heart for a part I played in it. Looking at my own part in a situation, instead of just the other persons, opens up the door to better understanding. Sometimes to reach true forgiveness in our hearts, we need to understand the whole picture – we always have a part to play.

Maybe this isn’t “true Christianity” is not always being quick to forgive in a Christ-like manner. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have Christ as my teacher, my guide, my savior. He points me in the right direction and shows me what needs to be done (on my end) in finding the peace I so desperately seek. Growing in my faith and walk with Jesus has brought about essential change through love. The change I didn’t know was essential until I looked back. With this psychic change, wrapped in the love of God, my heart softens more quickly towards others than it does myself. When I find this isn’t the case, I need to go back to the starting point: look at myself and take it to the Lord. In time, when I am ready, as I learn lessons to become more in His image and a better person, the span of time between upset and true forgiveness becomes shorter.

I think we also have to look at reasons as to why we resist forgiveness sometimes. Why are we not allowing God’s love to change our hearts in this particular way? In reflection, I have found it usually has to deal with some element of self-preservation. A natural human instinct, to be sure, but one that can also be a spiritual dead-zone. For without vulnerability and love for one another, we miss the mark. When we truly allow the love of God to flow through us, it does change us. It makes us not want to hold onto resentment, past hurts and wrongs done. It creates a desire to love above all, without ceasing, and without stipulations. This is not to say don’t protect yourself; the Bible tells us to guard our hearts, but it also tells us to love as He first loved us. This is a tricky balance and one that does not come easily without practice. I have discovered this balance does, however, come more easily when we cease to withhold our love, resting in some contempt for someone else or ourselves.

My message to you this morning is to continue in prayer. Pray about everything, and ask God to remove any contempt from your heart. The biggest thing I do to move forward and away from resentment is to pray for someone else. It may not feel natural at first, and you may even hate doing it. Just keep on. Keep on praying for them. All the things you wish for yourself, pray for them to come to pass for whomever you have struggled with. God will reveal things to you, soften your heart, and release you from your own bondage.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:2)

Have a blessed week,
Kait

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