As we continued on the journey, Why Prayer…, last weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder dove into the deep end of the business of every follower of Christ. He had the audacity to say, “When you feel angry and bitter … SAY GRACE.” Clearly, he has not walked a mile in my shoes. He made it sound as though the burden is on me to offer grace to people in my life who have made deposits, by their actions and/or words, causing anger, resentment, and bitterness to erupt in my heart.
“When you feel angry and bitter … SAY GRACE.” There have been countless times when swallowing that pill has caused my gag reflex to quickly engage! Truth be told, were it not for personal spiritual growth and God’s grace, the ability to say grace would be near the top of my mental list titled “Mission Impossible.”
Possibly, that is true of you also. But, with the immeasurable grace God has offered me, I now clearly understand the benefit of offering grace to those best able to stir up anger and bitterness within me. To do otherwise is foolhardy. Bitterness not only corrupts me, it also corrupts others. Hebrews 12:15 speaks to this: “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”
The failure to offer grace to others goes beyond reason. To be clear, we all are in need of the grace God offers. Should we not offer, with much generosity, to others the very thing we all are in desperate need of?
When left unattended, bitterness grows quickly. Bitterness will literally choke out the truth of God’s word when it is allowed to take up residence and given a chance to grow. It is for that reason, daily spiritual disciplines help keep spiritual weeds from taking over. When we choose to cultivate relationships by offering grace to others, God’s reputation is not tarnished. Conversely, God’s reputation is tarnished when followers of Christ fail to offer grace to others. May we never forget, without Christ we are nothing, and we have no good thing to offer without him.
What keeps you from offering grace to others? What keeps you from digging deep and pulling out the poisonous root(s) of bitterness within? What steps do you need to take to keep the root of bitterness from reappearing?
21 Days of Prayer: Day 24
God, you show us, again and again, your heart for those who are far from you. Remind me that I was once far from you. Instill deep in me this passion: to do whatever it takes to love you and others more each day. Exchange my thoughts for yours. Rearrange my priorities to be of one mind with you. Change my heart, God. Help me see that when I am in step with you, it’s the greatest adventure of my life. Amen.
This post was written by Karen Peck. Karen retired in March 2018 from Lucas County Information Services. She has been married over forty years. Karen rejoices over God’s faithfulness and God’s patience in her life and in her marriage. Nothing matters more to Karen than her relationship with God and her entire family. Her immeasurable faith in Christ and His ability to restore the broken runs deep within.
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