“So watch yourselves. If your brother or sisters sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” — Luke 17:3-4
What causes annoyance and anger after a dispute? The generic response would be a laundry list detailing why the other person was wrong and how illogically and unreasonably they behaved, concluding with something like, “I have a right to be upset when someone speaks to me that way!”
But if you’re interested in living a Tao-filled life, it’s imperative that you reverse this kind of thinking. Resentments don’t come from the conduct of the other party in an altercation; no, they survive and thrive because you’re unwilling to end that altercation with an offering of kindness, love and authentic forgiveness.
Someone must risk returning injury with kindness, or hostility will never turn to goodwill. So when all of the yelling, screaming and threatening words have been expressed, the time for calm has arrived. Remember that no storm lasts forever, and that hidden within are always seeds of tranquility. There is a time for hostility and a time for peace.
Have you ever been treated unfairly? When mistreatment spans over a long period of time, we may find your selves struggling with resentment. It is our fleshy response to indignities, insults and injustice. Yet unresolved resentment can hover over our lives causing havoc on us internally and those who live with us — even if they aren’t the cause of our pain. We must look to the word of God for help to overcome resentment and focus on God.
It’s incredibly tempting to focus our attentions on those who actually caused us this hurt and pain. Yet we must intentionally look to God for help. He knows what we are going through and will supply the strength for us to overcome resentment. As we set our eyes on His grace, love and mercy — we will find the peace we need.
Get busy about God’s work. Hebrews 6:11 says, “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.”
Too much time talking and thinking about how we were wronged only builds a strong foothold for Satan to step into our lives. We must keep ourselves busy about doing God’s work in our homes, jobs, schools and communities. Licking our wounds can only suffice for a short season. We must continue to press forward in God’s work in building the kingdom.
At age 17, Joseph became a slave in Egypt, then a prisoner in a rank dungeon for a crime he did not commit. The situation provided Joseph with plenty of time to think about his life and what he had done. Somewhere along the way, Joseph made a choice. He decided to forgive his brothers who had sold him into slavery. Eventually God fulfilled the promise he had conveyed through dreams to the brash young man, but not before refining Joseph’s character through forgiveness.
In closing, let me just remind you that letting go of resentments caused by others is extremely difficult! It is truly easier said than done. There are many people in my life that I have had to forgive, and it was not an easy thing to do. Forgiveness really showed up with my growth from attending bible study, Sunday School, reading and studying the word on a regular basis. Once we get that word in our hearts, do what this scripture tells us, in Matthew 6:14-15, which says, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. Visit her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.