January 24, 2017
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
It started out as a promising family day, with lots of good things packed in, until everything started going wrong.
Someone got impatient. Someone else got mad. Someone’s feelings were hurt.
Suddenly, the good day was a mess.
When it finally ended, there were a lot of reactions simmering in my heart, and none of them led in the right direction. I went over the day again and again. There’s something satisfying in rehashing a scene to justify my feelings, or to vilify someone else’s actions.
It’s also not really helpful.
This was family. We would get together again soon. If I nurtured those frustrations, I’d take them to the next family event like a bad side dish.
I sat outside that night and held up the day to God.
I asked Him to show me if I played a role in the conflict and, if so, what to do differently next time. I asked that He ease the emotions simmering just under the surface.
In today’s text, Paul reminds us we’re all imperfect. There will be days we have a grievance with each other. People will say the wrong thing. People will react in the wrong way. What we do in response can help us resolve the issue — at least in our hearts.
I have friends who haven’t spoken to their family in a long time. When I ask why, some point to the exact day an offense took place. Others have forgotten the original offense, but the feelings march on as if it took place yesterday.
In both situations, unresolved feelings were stoked and fueled.
One bad day became one bad week, which became one bad month, and it was still doing damage in the hearts of everyone years after the initial offense.
When I invited the Holy Spirit into my bad day, I was able to see some tired and stressed family members. I was able to pinpoint misunderstanding. Although I wasn’t directly involved (at least this time), I certainly played a part in moving it forward.
I needed to put one bad day in perspective and measure it against some really great days with these same people.
I needed to offer mercy, as I admitted the times I’ve said the wrong thing or arrived at an event stressed and out-of-sorts.
Has a bad day turned into a bad week? Are you still reliving that bad day or a bad moment? Talk to God about your painful moments. Share those unresolved feelings with Him.
We were never supposed to live our life tangled up in one bad day. As we ask God to help us move forward, we’ll not only find a listening ear but also help resolving the issues.
And that one bad day can take its rightful place in our thoughts and in our lives.
Heavenly Father, help me offer mercy to others, just as You’ve shown me mercy. I’ve held on to these feelings for far too long. I don’t want to be defined by one day, but live every day fully. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)
If you’re looking for God to show you a better way to love, check out our Valentine’s Day collection, here!
Rewriting old history is impossible, but you can write a new chapter in your story. Suzie Eller shares how in her book, The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness.
Join Suzie on her blog for a series titled 21 Days to Living a Life of Thank You. This free series offers resources and connection to help you discover the joy of intentional gratitude.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When we experience a bad day with someone close to us, our instinct might be to focus on their words or actions. For today, flip the focus onto your own heart.
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the bigger picture of that day. Pray for each person involved. Ask for forgiveness, if you’ve played a role. You’ll be surprised at how the burden will lift.
© 2017 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.
Originally published Tuesday, 24 January 2017.