If you’ve ever wondered whether other Christian women struggle in their walk with God like you do at times, today’s post will reassure you that I, for one, certainly do!
Recently I was in a situation where someone said something that rubbed me the wrong way. I was a little surprised at first and didn’t react outwardly. I just kind of sat with those words for a few minutes.
Now here’s what typically happens in circumstances like this (which could include any type of perceived hurt or injustice – maybe even directed toward my children – that gets me all worked up.) That offense gets into my mind and I go over it. and over it. and over it.
I think of what they said, and how I could have responded and how I’m going to act or what I’ll say the next time I see them. Or how I won’t say anything right now, but I’ll wait and bring it up later. Or how I won’t say anything at all, but for the next week, I’ll silently hold it against that person.
Well, that’s exactly what started to happen. My mind went into action and I began brooding over how I felt offended.
But I also began to realize that repeatedly hashing this over in my mind was not healthy. Dwelling on it was only going to make me more hurt and angry.
Out of nowhere (or so it seemed) in the midst of my hurt feelings, this passage, spoken by Jesus, came to mind. (Not in these exact words, but in my own summarized version.)
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” [Matthew 5:38-39]
No, I didn’t get a slap in the face. But the principle that spoke to me here was don’t be so quick to take offense. And beyond that, don’t seek to hurt the other person in return.
While I was provoked by what had been said, in a spirit of grace, I could choose to let it go. After all, how many times have I said or done things that offended God? Many, many times. Yet He forgives.
The Beatitudes at the beginning of Matthew 5 say blessed are the meek. Was I going to choose meekness or was I going to stand up for my own injured feelings?
I followed that up with Philippians 4:8. Allowing this hurt to fester in my mind was certainly not pure or lovely, virtuous or praiseworthy. Rather it was filling my mind with self-centered, resentful thoughts.
So did I immediately let it go? Honestly, it took me a few minutes. And it involved the realization that my human nature likes to hold a grudge and focus on my “offended-ness.” The “old man” that lives inside of me has a lot of power. But my “new man” knows the freedom I can live in if I will let it go. Otherwise, I leave room for a “root of bitterness” to take hold. [Hebrews 12:15]
However, I must have the Holy Spirit’s help, because I don’t feel strong enough to do it on my own. And I believe I had His help in this particular struggle. He reminded me of those verses to convict me that harping on what had happened was wrong.
For the rest of the day, I felt pretty good about this whole situation. I felt like I’d gained a spiritual victory.
But can you believe it? That night as I lay in bed, here came that disagreeable thought again! I had to fight it off once more.
That whole passage in Ephesians 6 which tells us we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood is so true. It’s unseen enemies that can slip in and defeat us. So we have to constantly arm ourselves with truth, righteousness, faith, and the Word of God.
I wish I could say I’ve learned my lesson, but this is a constant struggle for me. How vital it is for all of us to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ [2 Corinthians 10:5]. May we all choose to listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting when our flesh wants to do its own thing!