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May 11, 2009

"From Hurts to Hatred"

Part 4

C. S. Lewis said, “Forgiveness is a beautiful word, until you have something to forgive.”

God needed to take us through experiences that would show us basic principles having to do with forgiveness -- basic principles of facing the truth about ourselves. He had to break us to a point where we cried desperately to Him to deliver us. God saw that we thought we were right and it was other people who were wrong. Now there are a lot of times when this is true but God seems to be much more interested in our reactions than He does in what is being done to us. I felt I could change Papa. And then I felt I should be changing Joe, after all, wasn’t I his “helper?”

Bitterness is based on sin or hurt affecting you. It is not concerned with how big the sin is; it is based upon how close it is. Likely candidates are: fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, children, boyfriends, girlfriends, roommates, immediate superiors, immediate subordinates, co-workers, business partners, other relatives, and God. 75% of all murders in the United States are within the family or closest connections.

It’s often because we really do love them, deep inside, that it matters so much. And the reason we don’t deal with this sin is that we think it is the other person’s sin.

We say to ourselves, “When they say they are sorry, then I will forgive them!”
Or “Suppose they never change? Suppose they never see where they are wrong?”
I don’t think that Papa ever thought he was doing the wrong thing!

Walls build up between you and the more often you think about it, the more pain it brings, or the more they don’t change, the more distant you become. It’s a desperate cycle. It is impossible to create a cycle with one person. It always takes two people and only one is needed to end this cycle. I need to tell you that I ended up loving Papa!

How did I get rid of the roots of bitterness and remove the rocks and debris?

We are not responsible for hurts done to us. But we CAN do something about our
reaction to those hurts.

Here is the sequence, carried out to its fullest expression that we experience when hurts are not dealt with and left to fester: SIX BLOCKS

HURTS > SELF PITY > ANGER > BITTERNESS > HATRED > MURDER

1. Hurts: Wounds, caused either knowingly or unknowingly, open us up to infection.
2. Self Pity: Says, “Why ME? What did I do to deserve this? Nothing!”
3. Anger: Resentment that remains inside or boils over depending on your personality.
4. Bitterness: Layered Anger. Anger held onto or not dealt with. Anger gone rancid.
5. Hatred: Judgment is meted out to the offender. (Am I God?)
6. Murder: The natural outcome of hatred either in our hearts, or in actual fact.

My focus was on the hurts, and certainly not on my reactions. Here is where the boulders and roots had to be removed from the garden of my heart. And here is where the Holy Spirit began “digging up the fallow ground.” Here is where I found the Spirit of Christ picking up the boulders and digging out the roots.

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