12Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive any complaint you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which is the bond of perfect unity.—Colossians 3:12-14
Resentment will suck satisfaction right out of your soul. Bitterness, which is worse, consumes it. Revenge has a monstrous appetite and makes one start planning how to get back at that person. Then before you realize it, one act of retaliation is never enough. Grudges send us on a downward spiral and the enemy is dancing with glee.
Some people see the path of forgiveness to be impossible. So let’s be realistic. When you forgive someone it does not pardon the offense, excuse the misdeed, or ignore it. Forgiveness is not even necessarily reconciliation. The phrase “forgive and forget” sets an unreachable standard. Painful memories are not like old clothing, easily shed.
Forgiveness is simply the act of changing your attitude and your heart toward the offender; it’s moving from a desire to harm them toward an openness to be at peace. A step in the direction of forgiveness is a decisive step toward your happiness.
God is pleased. You are happy. The enemy is defeated.
When we become Christians, saved by the blood of our redeemer Jesus Christ, we have an obligation to conduct ourselves accordingly. I know that can be difficult in these days and times. It is now more critical than ever that we show the world that living in the darkness of despair and rebellion is not the way to go.
Unbelievers watch us as we go about our daily lives. For some they are just looking for an excuse to justify their worldly behavior when they see a believer acting the same worldly way. Our walk with the Lord is probably the only exposure they will have to God and Jesus Christ.
So, what steps can we take to provide unbelievers with a view of life that is modeled after Jesus? The following is a brief outline of the Christian walk, which can be found in Ephesians 4:22-32. If you don’t want to explore these passages in the scriptures, you can always print out this email message and use as a road map for your daily living.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the courage, stamina, and strength to walk in love like Jesus—Steps to walking, talking and acting like a Christian:
1. Lay aside the old self which is corrupt with lusts and deceit.
2. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
3. Put on the new self which is in the likeness of God.
4. Lay aside all falsehood, speaking the truth with your neighbor.
5.Whoever steals must steal no more but rather labor instead.
6. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth but only such a word as is good for edification.
7. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
8. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander be put away from you along with all malice.
9. Be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving each other as God has forgiven you.
Resentment is the cocaine of the emotions, causing our blood to pump. And our energy level to rise. There is a dangerous point at which our anger ceases to be an emotion and becomes a driving force. That’s why bitter people complain to anyone who will listen.
And, like cocaine, resentment can kill. Physically– with high blood pressure and other conditions. Emotionally– with anxiety and depression. Spiritually– as it shrivels the soul.
Hatred is the rabid dog that turns on its owner. Revenge is the raging fire that consumes the arsonist. Bitterness is the trap that snares the hunter. And mercy….mercy is the choice that can set them all free.