Our pastor stood last night with a 35-pound chain wrapped around his chest to demonstrate a bitter heart. He was finishing his message on Joseph’s life, a life born into dysfunction, a life filled with ups and downs of his own doing, pits of despair caused by others, and timeless lessons for the world. He closed with a challenge to forgive.
I’ve seen the chain visual aid countless times. And I’ve rid my heart of bitterness and anger and an unforgiving spirit countless times, depending on the Holy Spirit to free me from its weight and hold.
But, careless as I am, I become complacent. One comment here, one incident there, one snub here, one hyper-sensitive emotion there, and the bitterness begins to seep back in.
Three words were all it took last night to bring my heart front and center.
Let it go.
But their self-righteous attitudes hurt deeply and continue to sting.
But I try so hard to not just hear but listen, too, AND make eye contact – is it too much to ask for in return?
But I feel like a third wheel and they always leave me out.
But I haven’t done anything wrong and emotional drama is held against me.
Let it go.
But they don’t know MY side of the story!
But isn’t it obvious to offer to help since we’re doing all the work?
But it isn’t fair that I’m here early and stay late and accomplish more than everyone else, and they still treat me like I’m the low man on the totem pole.
But untruths and rumors are still being spread and I am unable to stop them.
Let it go.
But I went out of my way to have a great attitude and do something nice for them, and they didn’t even say “thank you.”
But I still have PTSD.
But he has done so much for them and has been so forgiving, and he is treated so badly, or not even acknowledged.
But I’ve tried and tried to make myself known and available, and they still have no idea who I am. I feel invisible.
But I do one thing wrong and that negates all of the wrong done to me?
But they’re growing up without me.
Let. It. Go.
But they make more money and I do the same job.
But they only think of themselves!
But it’s been five years – how much longer do I have to be punished?
But they’re in ministry and still treat us as outcasts.
But some of those whom I thought were my friends went silent when I needed them most.
Let. It. Go.
But my heart is genuine and my motives mostly pure.
But they never ask how I’m doing or what is happening in my life.
But we give and give and give and never receive anything in return.
But I was left with almost nothing.
But I don’t fit in.
LET. IT. GO.
But they won’t give us a chance.
But we weren’t invited.
But I’ve tried so hard and it doesn’t matter how hard I try, she won’t let me back in. All I have are the memories and they are beginning to fade.
But he lost almost everything in order to help rescue me.
But they are missing out on two people who love them so much it hurts and would do anything for them, two people who have learned from the drama and the dysfunction, two people who have vowed to do things different and be grateful for every. last. thing.
Rhonda. Let it go.
But it’s just not fair. I’ve done all I know to do to mend and repair and live with gratitude and humility and show kindness and mercy to others and open my heart to giving and. and. and.
The bitterness and unforgiving spirit does nothing but drag me down into a pit of unhappiness and despair. It causes me to cease counting my blessings. It makes me critical and judgmental. I’ve humbled myself and laid myself bare, asking forgiveness of others, but it isn’t as easy to forgive the hurt and the pain directed towards me. It’s a daily need, sometimes hourly. Like hand-washing.
Let it go. Choose today, this moment, to forgive.
And remember what Max Lucado wrote:
You will get through this.
It won’t be painless.
It won’t be quick.
But God will use this mess for good.
Don’t be foolish or naïve.
But don’t despair either.
With God’s help, you’ll get through this. – Max Lucado
Today, I am grateful for a powerful message that hit home last night.
I am grateful for heartfelt, passionate prayer, prayer that opened the door last night to my soul-stirring.
I am grateful that I have a husband who communicates so well and takes the time to listen.
I am grateful for conviction and repentance and the opportunity to start all over again every day, grace freely given to this soul who needs it like soap and water.
And I am grateful for my prayer in song: