Here’s a beautiful poem by Kathleen Wheeler that says so much about how each new day is a gift from God to make a difference; to be different. We don’t always need to have spoiled days as the poem says (hey! I made a rhyme!).
He came to my desk with a quivering lip, the lesson was done. “Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher? I’ve spoiled this one.” I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted, And gave him a new one all unspotted. And into his tired heart I cried, “Do better now, my child.”I went to the throne with a trembling heart, the day was done. “Have you a new day for me, dear Master? I’ve spoiled this one.” He took my day, all soiled and blotted, and gave me a new one all unspotted. And into my tired heart he cried, “Do better now, my child.”
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with COMPASSION, KINDNESS, HUMILITY, GENTLENESS and PATIENCE. Bear with each other and FORGIVE WHATEVER GRIEVANCES you may have against one another. FORGIVE AS THE LORD FORGAVE YOU. And over all these virtues put on LOVE which binds them all together in perfect unity.
An Angry & Bitter Whiplash
It’s tough to put aside offense and it’s especially tough when we’ve done nothing to incur the spite of others. Taking a cue from the latest Iron Man flick, Ivan Vanko (Whiplash) was a man full of bitterness, anger & grief. The thing is… how did he get that way? It didn’t just happen overnight and if we parallel the events of this comic book turned big screen character to real life it’d be the same for us as people. Bitterness is a nasty thing. It creeps in on us and before we know it we are crippled by an anger that keeps us from moving on in life. It’s tough to let go of our right to be angry but after having gone through some bitterness & anger in my life I’ve discovered that it’s just not worth it. It’s far better to just let go cos’ the only one who suffers in bitterness is ourselves.
What if Whiplash had just chosen to forgive? What if he had chosen to just move on? We discover in the course of the movie that Vanko was just as brilliant as Tony Stark and he could’ve been someone who could’ve made a difference in his homeland of Russia. Sure, we wouldn’t have a slam-bang slugfest between Iron Man & Whiplash if they had settled their differences but real-life just doesn’t work that way. Do we truly want a slam-bang slugfest with other individuals in our lives? What good does it do anyone?
Vanko Planning His Revenge
The Bible teaches me to do it different and the killer secret here is that we are asked to just forgive. Forgiveness is something that I understand a lot more these days. There are just so many things that I can take offense at but by applying forgiveness in my life I find that my heart is lighter and I am a much happier person. What matters more to me is my relationship with my Father in Heaven and what He thinks of me. He loved and forgive us first so wouldn’t it be right for us to do the same for others? In the light of all this harbouring ill-feelings towards others just doesn’t make sense.
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his lifewill lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
Being a believer can be quite a conundrum at times. There are a lot of things in the Bible that are opposite to what we are taught in the world. We often fight hand, tooth & nail to win what we want but Jesus teaches us that in order to gain salvation, we are to deny ourselves in following him.
What does self-denial mean? I’ve puzzled over this for years and it is a difficult thing to deny myself the things that I wanna see happen in my life. But self-denial just for the sake of self-denial isn’t exactly right either. If we read the words of Jesus properly, you’ll find that self-denial usually comes into play when we are following Jesus’ call to be disciples. That means not doing things like bribing that cop who stopped you for an offense, or not allowing the lust of your eyes to take you to places you shouldn’t go when you’re with an attractive member of the opposite sex, and so on and so forth.
In my book, denying myself would mean giving up my personal comfort to serve in some areas of church & ministry. It’s not easy to keep myself on the go to meet people and also to be out after work when my entire body, mind & spirit screams exhaustion and tiredness. And yet it is the right thing to do; in choosing self I find that I end up being very self-centred and it’s easy to end up being self-pitying if I’m left to my own devices. I would choose people first rather than self even though it has cost me many wounds due to the betrayal of others. In opening myself up sadly people have taken up arms against me instead and well it hurts. It hurts that the very ones I try to help are the ones who have stabbed me in the back with the knowledge that they have gained about me in my transparency. I am tempted to lash back out but I’ve known God long enough to understand that I can extend the same grace He gives me to those who have hurt me. Forgiveness is very much the key here and even though it’ll still take time for the hurt to subside I’ve discovered that forgiveness works a lot better than harbouring resentment & bitterness.
We are soldiers if we follow Christ. There’s no two ways about it and we can’t be double-minded about following him. We’re either for him or against him and we can’t be on the fence. It’s difficult being a disciple cos’ we keep wanting to go back to our old ways rather than follow the new ones that Jesus demonstrates to us. Being a soldier of Christ is an analogy that we need to remember especially when the world screams of self. I am an idealist and I believe that the world can be a better place as each of us impacts the world around us individually.
Be a soldier today. Let’s fight the good fight by bringing the Word to arms against the self-centred nature we find in the world.
Ask not what Jesus can do for you, but what you can do for your Saviour.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Most if not all of the things we learn from the Bible is counter cultural. In a world that preaches self and individual rights; very often we forget that putting self first perpetuates the messed-upness of the world we live in. Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are not seen as strengths but as weaknesses. And when it comes to forgiving others, most of us don’t truly understand the forgiveness that we have received from up high. Which is why it is so difficult for us to forgive.
I found it very difficult to forgive until I realised one day that I myself needed forgiveness. The best part is that I have been given that forgiveness for no other reason than God extending it to me out of the bigness and goodness of His heart. It’s alien to forgive. It’s more in our nature as fallen beings to take our anger out on someone. Forgiveness is a lesson that I learn every day and sometimes it just feels like I’m being stepped all over by people. Even thought it feels like that; my head and heart tells me it’s the right thing to do because of the forgiveness that I myself have received. Along the way I’ve learned these 2 lessons:
Unforgiveness hurts us emotionally & physically.
Unforgiveness traps us in the past.
Unforgiveness keeps us from moving on.
On the flip-side, having the humility to ask for forgiveness is a difficult thing to do as well. We are prideful creatures full of ourselves and damages our egos to say we’re sorry. I’ll be honest to say that I can’t stand to be wrong as much as any other person but I’d like to believe that I have learnt more in the past few years on being able to admin my wrongs & mistakes. The hard part is approaching that person and saying I’m sorry; mostly because I just don’t know how that other person would respond. From first-hand experience forgiveness is something not that easy to give and in my personal experience to ask for forgiveness from someone feels like I’m waiting to be judged or pardoned. I get an anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach which makes me very, very uncomfortable.
It’s tough both ways whether we’re asking or giving forgiveness but nevertheless it is the right thing to do to bridge the gaps we often face in our relationships & friendships.
I’ve been thinking a lot about anger and in my own experience of it not much good comes out of it. When I’m angry I get riled up and for the most part unable to think straight or see reason. The worst part I guess is how prolonged anger & bitterness can affect one’s health.
Forgiving someone for hurting us is tough. It’s taken me 3 years to work through my issues and at times it felt so very unfair that I was the one burdened with the hurt. It’s not an experience that I would wish on anyone but it does make me question the benefits of loving someone especially when there are unsaid expectations. Unconditional love isn’t something that comes natural for people.
Having said all that … I’ve come to learn that anger management is all about turning the other cheek and forgiving the parties who wronged us. Better that than to hold a grudge cos’ sometimes hurt can come through misunderstandings too. It’s difficult but I’m doing the best I can to give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s tough though cos’ I find it a little difficult to trust people and right now it’s more natural for me to view things negatively rather than positively.
At the end of the day I really want to be settled in myself. There’s just so much to take on in life and I truly just want to be content. Being less angry certainly is something worthwhile to have in life. Wouldn’t all of you agree?
I’ve been thinking a lot about being in love and how easy it is to fall in love with someone we’ve made up in our minds. A part of me wonders just how much I truly know about a person before I fall in love with her. How much of it is made up? How much of it really is her? How much of me is blinded by the attraction that I feel and the deep need to be attached?
Attraction and character don’t always match and I am very much confused on how to judge the kind of girl who’d be good for me in the long haul. Someone who’d love me for me and would accept me just as I am. Who can see the person that I will be one day and is willing to invest in my life. Seems like such a tall order to make of someone. I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 and it says this.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I broke it down and I realise that I’ve failed to love her in all those ways. I’ve not been patient. I’ve not been kind when my heart was broken. I was jealous and at times arrogant when I lashed out at her. I was angered. And the worst part is that I had so much bitterness in me because I was so hurt & could not forgive. I want to love in the way that Paul writes about. Am I able to always protect & always trust? Am I able to always have hope and persevere? Now that’s something to work towards and I hope one day my loved ones will be able to truly say that I have loved them.
Right now being able to love like that seems so far away … I can love like that a little but the past 3 years have shown me just how angry I can be and it saddens me cos’ I wanted nothing more than to love & care for her. Oh how easy it is to hate someone and how difficult it is to forgive. I’m glad that I’ve chosen to forgive cos’ life is to short to hate and I do enjoy life a lot more compared to before.
I am recovering and I thank God for restoring a lot of things in my life that I had lost along the way. I smile a lot more easily now and my mind is not far away as much as before. I thank God I can live in the present now and am a lot more contented. That’s a good thing isn’t it? 🙂
As I sit here at 11:37pm my mind ponders the events of recent months. How much I wanted to just let things slide but yet listened to the darkness within me that wanted revenge and wanted to hold on to anger because of my so called rights. In the calmness that I occassionally have I realise that I am still in love. But what is love that is not reciprocated?
I find myself being assailed by the memories of all that has happened. A very quiet voice says forgive her and start anew but I am so afraid. I don’t want to make anymore mistakes … I can’t afford to. I’ve made far too many in such a short span of time.
Papa, how do I make things right? Please help me make things right with the person that I love. Can she ever love me? Lord am I the right person for her? What do YOU want from me? I want to do the right thing … help me do the right thing because the right thing matters. Very much.
Here’s to thoughts that echo in the still of the night. May they make a difference when the dawn breaks.