Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘bitterness’

Healing Relationships

Messy relationships are part of life and…

Loving others is our spiritual service as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1)!

Continuing with our focus that Relationships Matter,  let’s begin with exploring how to expose roots of bitterness to the light of love so we can have healthy relationships!

The heart of man reflects a man…that is why it is critical to understand and utilize our emotions.  The pure in heart see God; if I am seeing ‘yuck,’ my heart needs some purifying!  God seeks relationship with all of us at all times.  He looks to who we were created to be, not who we are at the moment.  My relationships with others are a tool He uses to transform me because they expose my heart!

Living from emotions as if they were truth is a deadly practice.  Learn to listen to emotions not as ‘truth’ but as indicators of heart issues.  Emotions come before actions and words, but they follow thoughts.  We are not at the mercy of our thoughts; in fact, we are commanded to manage them.  Thoughts can be true or false; we are responsible to know the difference and choose Truth!  Freedom to choose responses instead of being enslaved to reactions requires digging through the dirt and building your life on Truth.  The work is worth it; here’s a tool that helped me!

Resentment, anger and rejection are common relationship issues.  Understanding the Truth Roots of each is a powerful shield against destructive reactions.

Resentment often flows from expectations that have not been met.  We establish a standard that we live by for ‘right actions’ and expect others to accept our definition.  Our standard may be ‘right’ but imposing our expectations on another is not right. Other times our expectations are unrealistic, sometimes faulty—and often even unspoken.  Regardless, our expectations are ours.  Any problem arising from our expectations means we need to take them  to the Lord.

Journaling helps me in this process.  If I find resentment blocking me from the presence of God, I immediately stop and ask for clarity on what I am resenting.  The Holy Spirit is a real presence who helps us!  (John 14:26)  Simply writing down my resentment often improves my perspective.  Other times I have to ask God to heal a hurt from a loved one.  The wounds of our friends are precious; we need not fear the pain.  Our Savior is acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53) and our faithful healer.  Taking my resentments to God is part of His plan for purifying my heart.  His healing love is a priceless treasure.

Relationship struggles remind us that our hope is in God alone.  It is He who works in others, setting the expectations for them (as well as us).  It is He who grants us favor with others (or not!).  He orchestrates all!  We can trust His standards and His work in us and others.

Please note: expectations are not boundaries.  Boundaries are healthy and necessary in every relationship.  Asking something of another is part of every relationship.  What we ask will always be for the good of both participants in the relationship…and it will always be an ask not a demand.  Asking allows for a no that does not generate rejection or bullying.  The softness of our heart—and our reactions to wounds from another—should not be sharp or edgy when our ‘ask’ is refused.  Unconditional love has boundaries, but that love is not given based on whether the boundaries are honored or ignored.  The love remains despite the actions of the other.  

Anger develops from unmet expectations that grow into rights.  The perceived violation of those rights generate anger.  In anger, two pathways emerge: one masquerades as strength, the other as weakness.  Both are deceptive paths of destruction—personal and relational.  The path of pride produces presumption—arrogance and disrespect for others (and God).  The other path offers despair and hopelessness.  It cries victim and weakness…and often manifests as depression.

Rejection—both the feeling and the act—brings death to the relationship and decay to the individuals.  Separating from another person may give an illusion of relief but does nothing to resolve the underlying issues.  Resentment and anger continue developing roots in the soul.  They are the ‘bitter roots that defile many.’  Rejection is not the way of God; not His desire for us or others.  The roots of rejection must be eradicated; the love of God is the only power capable of victory!

To know the love of God

is to be filled with the

FULLNESS OF GOD!

Loving others requires that we first be loved by God.  All of life has the potential to guide us into greater knowledge of God, but all of life seeks to draw us away from Him too!  The choice is ours to make when we know Jesus Christ.  In the next entry, we will explore choices and living with intention!  Don’t miss out:   Follow this website or like the Facebook Page to receive notice of the next entry.

 

 

Can you hear me now?

We all have those conversations with others that leave us feeling that nothing we thought we were saying was heard.  Whatever it is we intended to convey often takes a back seat to resentment and frustration.  Then, we assure that nothing is heard!

We live in a loud, loud world–where opinions are shouted as truth and personal preference is a god that divides and destroys.  Learning to hear and be heard is a vital pursuit.  We want our hearts to be intent on the cell phone slogan:  Can you hear me now?

A quiet heart resting in God is the key to hearing clearly.  It is also the key to speaking clearly.  When we have God in His rightful place, powering our lives, we will hear Him and heartothers will as well.

We intuitively understand the damage of speaking from a distressed heart.  ‘Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.’  When our heart is impure and filled with ‘us’ instead of Christ, the words we speak reflect that.

David–the man after God’s own heart–gives us insight into what happens when we relate to others with a disquieted heart.

When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,
Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.  Psalm 73:21,220227162151a

A heart that is pained and bitter makes us senseless and ignorant.  We can’t even think through what we are hearing or seeing. Our relationships with others are cut off.  We stand before God as a ‘beast’ instead of one made in His image.

The emotions God built into us are to alert us to the need to go for Him–for a clean-up, a restoration to what really matters.  We can’t simply acknowledge our unrest, we must confess it for the sin it is.  David didn’t dismiss his sin by excusing himself or accusing another…he said “I was senseless and ignorant.”  He owned his limitations and honored God.  Then, we see a beautiful picture of how God brings each of us into relationship with Him–and how we can restore relationships in our own lives.

Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory. Psalm 73:23,24

God does not toss us aside or even turn His back on us when bitterness and pain causes us to be foolish and ignorant.  He holds us fast and guides us with kindness.  He refocuses on what really matters and leads us toward that.

My tendency in brick wall conversations is to drop the matter and move on.  Sometimes that is the right choice.  But always, loving others and leading them toward what really matters with kindness is the right choice. 

As Christians, we are called to make disciples of Christ.  We can only do that if we surrender our lives so Christ can be seen and felt.  Insisting on our opinion, requiring others to see things as we see them or feel about things as we do is not the way of Christ.   Through Jeremiah, God told His people, I have drawn you with cords of loving-kindness.  He is unchanging.  May we change into more of His likeness.

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