I know you have been there. If it helps, I am there quite often. Those moments in life when you think . . .
- Did that R E A L L Y just happen?
- Did I H O N E S T L Y hear that correctly?
- Do you know how hurtful that was to me, him, us?
- Do you realize how crushing that was to her, me, us?
- I will N E V E R get past this!
Yep, I’ve had the same thoughts.
When I’m hurt, my first thought is not to “turn the other cheek.” I want to retaliate, to show the other person how hurtful his or her actions were . . . in a way that’s less than Christlike.
Yet I know justice is to be left in the Lord’s hands; Scripture clearly commands it. I have yet to find a “let’s meet in the middle on this one, Lord” anywhere in His Word.
Leaving justice to Him is most difficult when it’s those I love who have been hurt by others. In my family, we have endured several experiences that are too painful for words.
They’re like boulders plunged into the waters of my soul. The “ripple effect” has been a tsunami.
Drenched in grief too deep for words, I’m haunted by a command I cannot follow without divine intervention. I grow claws, not grace.
Weeds vs. Beauty
Today Jon was struggling with pain caused by a bully years ago. The bully is long gone but, because of that bully, Jon will experience physical and emotional pain off and on for the rest of his life.
While helping Jon I silently nursed my anger and resentment, which is never helpful or healing for the soul. Ruminating on—instead of releasing—what God says He’ll handle is like dumping fertilizer on weeds.
Trust me: it is NEVER productive.
If you have ever tried to grow a garden or beautiful lawn, you know unwanted weeds are forever problematic. They’re sneaky and strategic.
They can adapt to almost any kind of soil and climate. They have a knotty root system that plunges deep into the soil, sucking up good nutrients.
They reproduce faster than mice! If left unchecked, weeds can take over a healthy garden in no time.
What Will You Grow?
Scripture includes many stories about gardening . . . stories of sowing, reaping, harvesting, and farming. Perhaps that’s because the human soul is like an open field.
We need to be reminded of the countless ways it needs to be attended to and cared for consistently. Gardening requires forethought and care; what we put into our “fields” (our souls) is revealed in many ways.
One tool the Enemy uses to sneak into our fields is pain caused by others. How we respond to that pain determines whether life-giving beauty sprouts up from our wounds or deadly weeds.
The two most powerful tools in fighting the Enemy—in warding off weeds—are our prayer lives and our minds.
Romans 12:2 commands us, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Romans chapter 8 is all about how we choose to use our minds and the results of living with a mind fixed on truth.
When we focus on things of this world, adopting and adapting to sinful ways, we feed our sinful natures.
When we ask the Holy Spirit to help us focus our minds on what is true and right, the result is peace, confident hope, and a life that is honoring to God.
The Gigantic Vat of Weed Killer We All Need
After Jon went to bed, the house was quiet. My thoughts began to settle. One phrase kept coming to mind: “All things must begin and end with love.”
I thought, All things? Even the messes in life that are awful to care for and clean up? Messes we did nothing to deserve?
Yep, ALL THINGS.
Conviction set in like a gigantic vat of weed killer. The Holy Spirit was tilling my soul:
Colleen, it doesn’t matter how nice you are, how much you do, how much you know, or how much you give if it is not rooted in, grounded in, and birthed out of love.
This, I believe, is one of the hardest parts of the Christian life: to love others as Christ loves me . . . without condition, regardless of pain. I must have the Holy Spirit’s help for this to happen.
Our human wills are driven to fulfill self-focused wants and needs, including retaliation. Unconditional love requires a power not naturally found in humanity; it’s found only in Jesus Christ.
Pain turns the soil in our souls, revealing how much we need Jesus to be able to love as we’re commanded to love.
Jesus loves you right where you are this moment. He will never stop loving you, just as He never stops loving me . . . even when I blow it.
If you’re nursing your anger and wishing to “get even” as I was earlier today, I urge you: call out to the One who has the power to dig out the weeds and bring healing nutrients to your soul.
Let Him renew your mind and sprout a breathtaking garden from your wounds.
Let Me Hear from You
I’ve got two things for us all to remember when we’ve been hurt. One part is God’s job; the other is yours. God tells us it’s His job to bring justice to all things.
He’s more than able, and in His perfect timing He will do exactly that.
Our job is to tend the open fields of our souls. None of us are called to be the Holy Spirit in another’s life. Let God do that.
Keeping your soul healthy is more than enough responsibility for you. When we try to do any job but our own, weeds start to take over; our souls suffer.
May I ask, how is your soul these days? Is the soil healthy or have weeds moved in and begun to take over?
Why don’t we work together, encouraging one another to do all things out of love? What one issue continues to come up in your life, threatening to let weeds take over?
How can you begin to release that issue to the Lord? I look forward to hearing from you this week!
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