I’ve had a very busy week so I haven’t published a post since Tuesday. I planned to continue in my series, but I’ve been interrupted by a very important message from the Lord. In reading a book last night before bed, I was taken to this passage: “Pursue peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many become defiled” (Heb 12:14-15).
As I pondered on this passage I was reminded that people purposely or without thinking hurt us. When we become angry at being hurt, we can begin to poison the soil in our hearts. If we seethe on the hurt and anger, we are festering the original hurt and it can be the perfect soil to grow a bitter root. One test is to listen to how we speak of others: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil person out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (Luke 6:45)
The passage the Lord highlighted for me last night begins the chapter by telling us that we’re to throw off everything that would entangle us from persevering in what the Lord has given us to do for His kingdom. “Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Heb 12:1-3)
Sometimes what we need is perspective. The hurt I’ve received from a “friend” is nothing in comparison to the pain and anguish our Lord endured in order for us to have the choice to choose to come to Him for salvation through faith. And yet what our Lord asked of His Father for those who put Him on the cross, spat in His face and gambled for His clothing was not to smite them where they stood. No, instead He asked, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
There’s no pain received from a “friend” that’s worth poisoning the soil in my heart. Sometimes, we just need to move on, pray that the Lord takes care of them (Matt 5:44), and then put them out of our minds. I know this is a process because I could hear again next week that this person has again chosen to ignore our supposed friendship, which I’ve heard about too many times to count. And then I will have the choice to make to realize that this person isn’t truly a friend, and know that they have the right to make that choice.
My choice is to become angry, hurt, and simmer in my anger or to let them go…. “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every matter under heaven…A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted” (Eccl 3:1-2). Today, I choose to uproot the bitter root so that the Lord can use me for His purposes. It’s also helpful to remember that the Lord may be using this person who has turned their back on our friendship to “train” me into a more mature faith. “For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Heb 12:11)
So instead of continuing in bitterness, I choose to thank the Lord for highlighting His Word to me so that I understand that He is using a painful process to train me to “pursue peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14). Thank You, Lord, for loving me enough to discipline me. I pray that sharing my pain today will help others so that You will be glorified!