“I need to apologise. I’ve got resentment building in my heart that you can’t see and I want to dig it out. I’m sorry.” Goodness!! Did I just say those words?!? I was speaking to my husband, who wasn’t understanding me (again – probably my fault for not being clear, again!) and I could feel the resentment growing.
My usual response in this situation would be to go silent; giving the cold-shoulder whilst chewing over petty grievances and wallowing in ‘he doesn’t understand me’ self-pity. Isn’t this often the easy option when we don’t want to confront the sin in our own hearts?
I can put my hand up and say that this was the first time I’d EVER managed to conquer that inner battle with God’s help, and admit to it, whilst struggling against my ‘flesh’ that wanted to nurse my self-pity.
In the past few weeks our life group has been studying the book of James together. This portion struck me;
“But the wisdom of heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times, willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere. And those who are peace-makers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness”.
James 3 v 17-18 (NLT)
I had set myself the challenge to root out sin in my own life following prompting from the Holy Spirit in my heart. Oh friends! How much easier it is to say we will do something than actually putting it into practise!! We need to start with ourselves and CHOOSE to deal with our own sin. I realised the resentment in my heart at that moment needed dealing with. With God’s enabling, I could identify it and seek forgiveness. What is so amazing is the blessing that came from that obedience! An immediately restored relationship and peace that flooded my heart! As the Scripture in James says, I was blessed with a harvest of goodness in that situation. Practise makes perfect; I am having to work on dealing with my unseen thoughts and my impure heart every day, but with God’s help I hope I can obey His will.
God delights in giving us wisdom when we ask (James 1 v 5) and I have found that as I daily (or in the moment) ask Him for grace, He gives it! The discipline is in the asking, especially when our sinful nature is so self-centred. Are we willing to root out the sin in our own hearts? Especially when it comes to our relationships with those we love; are we showing Jesus to those around us by how we love each other? (John 13 v 35) When we talk with our parents, give advice to our children, chat things through with a friend or husband or close colleague – how are we examining our own heart and motives to make them obedient to Christ? When we seek the wisdom God gives, and put it into action, we will reap a harvest of goodness in our own lives and in our relationships with those around us.
Christ promises to be with us every step of our journey as we seek to walk wisdom’s path. As a child of God, I would much rather be blessed with His restoration then carrying the burden of resentment. Wouldn’t you? Let’s encourage each other to obey God and model the wisdom of the Gospel.