I write and speak about how I was freed from bitterness. The Lord did a work in my heart and my book tells the story of my journey from bitterness to repentance to abundant life. But it seems that I need to keep being reminded of this and re-learning the lessons over and over.
One of the main objects of my bitterness had been my parents. (There were others, but I have known them the longest!) God healed my heart and gave me a new love for them. In many ways the Lord has restored my relationship with them over the past years.
But recently they did it again; they hurt and wounded me deeply. I was attempting to pursue some legal matters that would help my parents in their current situation. They are getting older and have their limitations. I spoke to my dad on the phone four or five times, discussing the steps I wanted to take. He very clearly said, “Yes, go ahead.” We talked at length about the wording, and different options and what steps he would have to take after I sent him the paperwork. All was going smoothly until I sent him everything. Then he told me no. He would not sign anything. What frustrated me the most was that he said, “I never agreed to this.” I protested, “Yes you did! Repeatedly!” He apologized for the “misunderstanding.”
I was hurt, angry, sad, furious. I cried and ranted to my husband and some close friends. But the big question is, “How am I going to react to this?”
I can nurse my anger and resentment and focus on how badly I’ve been treated. This surely isn’t the first time I’ve felt betrayed and rejected by my parents. I can rehearse all those instances in my mind and decide that I certainly won’t be contacting or visiting them any time soon. I can complain about it to everyone and garner their sympathy. I can wallow in self-pity because I think I deserve it. This route will take me right back into old patterns of bitterness.
I can please Jesus with my reactions and attitudes. I can choose to love and forgive them. I can ask the Lord for His comfort and for wisdom. I can ask for a greater love and compassion for my folks. I can ask Jesus to fill those holes of hurt with the Holy Spirit and grace. I can pray for my parents, that God would change their heart if that’s His will. I can also pray for my own heart to be changed.
So….Drum roll……..my choice is “B” 🙂
Today I went for a long walk and prayed. I was thanking the Lord for already starting the process of healing me and changing my mind. I’m not totally over it yet, but I’m shedding the sadness and hurt as I rejoice in the fact that my Heavenly Father loves me, listens to me and sees everything I do. He knows my motivations and every word that passed between my dad and me. Their future is ultimately in God’s hands, not mine. So I’m choosing to trust Him with that and be obedient.
Because, after all, isn’t it really all about pleasing Jesus anyway?
We are not trying to please people, but God who tests our hearts…..We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else…. I Thessalonians 2:4b,6a
So, how will I react?
I will love and forgive, through the power of the Holy Spirit alive and at work in me. And I will have the joy that comes from obedience and intimacy with my Heavenly Father, praise God!