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Posts tagged ‘resentment’

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.

 

 

Real Relationships are Messy

Love.  Family.  Friends.  There is nothing like the holiday season to expose the imperfections of relationships.  Our ideals are so high; our desires grand.  The television commercials and social media shares leave us thinking everyone else has more love and better relationships than we do.  Take heart!  Real relationships don’t always look beautiful…and sometimes they don’t feel lovely either.  The truth is:

Real relationships are messy!

I believe they are meant to be…and God wants to transform the mess into a beautiful message of real love and real relationship.

Our lives are meant to be full of relationships. God, who is love, created humanity in His image for connection.  His image is marred in each of us but His loving pursuit of us is unfailing.  The vast difference between ourselves and the heart of God is revealed when we are in relationship with others.  Relationships show us where we are not like our Creator and inspire us to know Him more—and be more like Him.

God is the author of relationships, and the only source for success in relationships.    He is Creator and Sustainer.  His fervent, faithful love for each of us reveals our need for Him and shows us what it looks like to love others like He loves.

Committed, connected relationships don’t just happen.  Connection with others inevitably leads to hurt feelings and difficulties.  Relationships require attention, intention, effort and even sacrifice.  That is as it should be!  When relationships cause us distress—as every relationship will—there is a beautiful opportunity unfolding.

Do you recall how Jesus’ response to the accusers of the adulterous woman transformed the lives of all involved?  He simply wrote in the dirt.  As we walk through life, we must let Jesus write in our lives…whether we are the accuser or the accused.  Nothing anyone has done to me is greater than what I have done to the Lord of Lords.  In fact, when we sin against another, the sin pierces God first.   In relationship with others, we must train our eyes to look at Jesus first.  When we come to Jesus with our relationship issues, whether anger or hurt, He will reveal something within us that still needs transformation!

Rather than look to Jesus, our natural response to relationship problems is to lash back, make accusations, or hide in shame or self-protection.  Hurt people hurt people but healthy people help people.  The law of sowing and reaping is a vital relationship principle, but it is one that Jesus can alter!  In the natural realm, seeds of resentment produce a crop of resentments.  Anger breeds anger.  Seeds sown from the flesh and unholy spirits destroy lives and relationships.  Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil — and taking offense is a bait straight from Satan!  Refuse the bait and partner with Jesus to destroy the devil’s plans.

Scripture tells us that vision and understanding give us restraint.  Restraint is a powerful tool to employ in relationships.  Those tv commercials and Facebook posts are an idealistic vision.  Real vision comes from the Word.  Even in this godless age, many know John 3:16…

”For God so loved the world, He sent his only Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.”

The Father loved that Son whom He sent…that’s a bit harder look at love to embrace.  We like love that rescues.  We shirk love that sacrifices in such a profound way.  Even those who are willing to receive hurts to themselves resist allowing their loved ones to suffer.

We want loving relationships that give us only sweetness, and that is neither realistic nor beneficial.  Sincere love for another involves sacrifice and suffering on both sides FOR eternally good purposes!

Loving others is the spiritual service of a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).

Relationships matter!  As 2016 comes to a close and a new year dawns, let’s spend some time looking at God’s plans and purposes for the relationships we enjoy in our lives.  We’ll begin with exploring how to expose roots of bitterness to the light of love!  Follow this website or like the Facebook Page to receive notice of the next entry.

Ever feel like ‘Nothing is quite enough?’

Do you have a situation–or a person–in your life who makes you face the ugly feeling of being ‘not enough.’  Maybe that feeling comes from your own view of yourself:  you simply can’t rise up to loving yourself.  Maybe it is something that you care desperately about–something you want to fix or do–but it is out of your control.  Can you bring yourself to give thanks for that situation or person?

give thanks

Before we look at the thanksgiving part, there is an important truth we all need:

You are enough.  God says so!  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Walk outside on a starry night and look at the sky.  The One who made all that, who keeps it in place knows your name–and He says, “That person is so special, I sent my son to suffer and die to save her/him.”

So whomever or whatever makes you feel that way–it’s a lie from the devil meant to stop you from living like your loved.  Throw the lie out and prepare to give thanks.

In the midst of that feeling of being not enough are two truth treasures that can transform lives–our own and others.

First, none of us is enough for another person.  We are not meant to be! If we–or they–try to live off the connection we have to each other, our personal relationship with God is threatened.  The typical response generated by ‘not enough’ seethes with resentment and bitterness.  Those things block our own connection with God.  Our response comes from the fact that the person who is creating our ‘not enough’ feeling is pouring out their own resentment on us.

We don’t have to react that resentment; it is just their mistaken attempt to meet their need.  We can respond with compassion because it is not our failing at all!  Being a child of God gives us the option to resist the temptation to return unpleasantness with more unpleasantness.  Being a child of God allows us to choose to let the life of Christ within us respond in love.  What a joyful way to ‘fill up in the flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ.

The second great thing about ‘not feeling like enough’ is that it reveals this truth:

we are never enough when it comes to living like Christ.

If mankind could have disciplined itself into holiness, Jesus Christ would never have needed to suffer and die.  It is Christ in me that is my hope of glory.  Sometimes we need a solid reminder that we are not enough in this Christian life.  No one lives without sin.  Jesus freed us from the penalty and the power, but the presence of sin–in us and around us–is part of the human experience. That piercing sorrow of not being enough to fix a problem or help someone–it is the time to fall in reverence before the One who has it all in control!

Humility is the key to the Kingdom of Heaven.  A reminder that we are not enough serves to draw us to the One who gives generously and beyond anything we can think to ask.So, whatever it is that has you feeling less than enough, give thanks to God–and let Him be your sufficiency!

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