Friday, July 3, 2009

first response

"Where is another God like you,
who pardons the guilt of the remnant,
overlooking the sins of his special people?
You will not stay angry with your people forever,
because you delight in showing unfailing love."
Micah 7:18

Yesterday I was reading about bitterness and how critical it is for us to forgive those who offend us. Right in the middle of a sentence, I overhead one of my children make a rude comment to their sibling. Complete with a hurtful tone.

Honestly, this is a challenge that I face daily with this particular child. I have tried everything to help them stop being so hurtful and find a better way to treat their family members.

I've found that when I am able to stay neutral, I am best able to speak the truth in love and be support to them.

Unfortunately, my biggest struggle is staying neutral. I feel so frustrated and sad when I hear the hurtful words that come spewing out of said child's mouth.

It breaks my heart. I start to judge my child. And in that moment, I open the door for sin to enter my own heart.

At first, I'm able to bite my tongue and not get involved. I know that all of my children need to learn how to work out their own battles.

The biggest mistake I make is to get involved and choose sides. Defending the "victim" is never good. It just multiplies the drama. And who says that the victim is really innocent?

And so, I've thought I was being successful when I was able to control my tongue. (Note, I said "I" was able to control my tongue. How could I have been so naive? I know that on my own I can do nothing. That the only real victories come through Christ and His power and love working in and through me.)

So anyhow, I control my tongue and think I've won the battle. The real problem, however, comes somewhere between comment #3 and #5. :-(

I suddenly find that the control I once had on my tongue is spewing out with my own rude comments. (And, oh yes, the hurtful tone is even worse that my child's was.) Sigh.

Yeah, my flesh takes over and every desire I had to remain loving and kind is nowhere to be found.

Until yesterday. The Lord spoke to my spirit to forgive her. And in that moment, He graciously handed me yet another of those precious keys. It all made sense.

I was just reading about how harmful bitterness is. That it's critical to our well-being to forgive those who offend us.

I began to understand that the key to forgiveness is to make it my first response.

Before judgement kicks in. Before bitterness has a chance to take root. Before my flesh is able to have it's ugly way.


It makes sense, doesn't it? If we choose to forgive the very moment someone says or does something that offends us, we are able to remain in love. God's love.

The very place where all things good happen. Joy. Peace. Honor. Patience. Hope. Kindness.

Although my child's comments aren't directed at me, I have allowed myself to be offended by them.

The result is that I became judgemental and frustrated. I allowed bitterness in, and our relationship was affected. Not in a good way.

The solution to my problem is to allow forgiveness to be my first response. When I do so, I slam the door to sin and the result is sheer bliss. :-)

No kidding. I've tried it. Yesterday, I said to myself, "I forgive them." Talk about freedom!

This morning, I woke up and found my spirit no longer in a neutral place towards my child. Instead, I found myself looking for ways to bless and love on my child.

I had no idea how how much bitterness had eaten away at our relationship. I feel sad for lost time, but look forward to making up for it today and tomorrow. :-)

It's just another way we can choose between blessings and curses. God's ways leave me astounded.

I am so thankful that He is not only patient with me but that His love for me is unfailing.

His love for you, my Friend, is unfailing. And He delights in teaching us new ways to live, each and every day.

I am so very, very thankful to be LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Saying "no" to bitterness,


HisFireFly said...


Also Amy, I owe you much gratitude for being the one to first lead me to Tom Davis. I haven't read his non-fiction, but I just read "Scared" and am undone.

I pray that we are all moved to action.

Wrote a come brief comments on my blog, come see what you think.

And bless your heart for beating with His!

Susanz Place said...

great post - so glad i bumped into your blog - i'll be back to visit

always remember to
keep chasing righteousness!!!

sara said...

Are you speaking to me?? It is so true that our human nature immediately is seeped in bitterness and unforgiveness- how different our lives can be if we allow HIS spirit to live IN us! The sad thing is, I most often don't even WANT to forgive. I WANT those horrible feelings of bitterness and anger. I just want to grovel in it for a bit before I try to climb out of it and reach into forgiveness (which is a lot harder!) And so not God's plan for us :=)

Thank you for sharing - and I also really appreciated your ost on expecting a response. Sigh.

Today, I am going to try to love others like God loves me. For real.

Chantelle said...

So appeciating your gut level honesty and so relating to your struggle. God bless you.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Your honesty is always so refreshing for me! I have a tribute over at my blog today. Thanks for your inspiration!
~ Wendy

California Isoms said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing this. What a wonderful insight. I, too have a child like that. I find truth and hope in your comment to forgive first. That has never even crossed my mind. I'm so glad I found your blog today.
~ Cory =)