Putting Off the Old
Verse 13b But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
Many make resolutions as we journey into a new year while others know they seldom result in lasting change so don’t bother to begin. While statistics show that most resolutions don’t last through the end of January there are things we should be resolved to because they have eternal impact. These are the things that we will be talking about as we go into this new year.
Before we can resolve to be the people that God is desiring us to be for eternity we need to clean the foundation that we will be building on. To properly clean it we need to identify the things that may hinder a proper foundation. If we are wanting to build a sturdy character, we need to make sure that the connections to our hearts can be made securely.
One of the things that we need to purge from our lives are old hurts that have turned us bitter. It isn’t that those things didn’t hurt, they definitely did, but that doesn’t mean that we are to hold onto that hurt. When we allow things to make us bitter we set ourselves up to have cloudy vision about what is going on in life. If we have allowed ourselves to become bitter about someone who has hurt us in the past we may find ourselves having tainted views of anything and everything that person is associated with. And if that person is someone in the Church we can soon find ourselves fighting against any ministry they are involved in.
If you find yourself getting upset anytime you hear a certain name or see a certain person it is time to address that sinful heart you have regarding them. To address this heart issue we need to be honest with ourselves and deal with why we feel that way. It may also mean going to the person and asking their forgiveness. This won’t be easy and the longer the bitterness has been growing the harder it will be to talk to them.
On the flip side, is there someone who we know has something against us? This may be something we need to discuss with them so that we can be free of anything that will hold us back as a body of believers. Unresolved fractures in relationships break unity, not just between us and that person but the crack will eventually widen as people start taking sides. For our spiritual walk, the spiritual health of the other person and for the mission of the Church, we must get rid of bitterness.
Making It Personal
Who came to your mind as we talked about bitterness? What steps do you need to take to get to a spiritually healthy interaction with that person? What would it do for your spiritual health to have that dealt with?
Making It Personal Kids
What does it mean to be bitter? Are you bitter against someone? Who do you need to apologize to?
Father, forgive us for holding ugly feelings for others in our hearts. Give us the wisdom and courage to confess these sins and work at reconciling with those we are at odds with. In Jesus’ name, amen.