Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness….(1 John 2:9).
Darkness is always trying to steal our joy and freedom to live fully alive in life-giving relationships with others. As I reflect on my own heart I have noticed a message that is trying weasel it’s way in. It’s a message that says, “This person hurt you, BE ANGRY! Pray for vengeance!”
Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
“In your anger, do not sin, do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians 4:26)
Some hurts cut us so deeply that we go on for days, weeks and months mulling over the wrong done to us. It’s easy, in those moments to store up thoughts of darkness towards that person or persons who hurt us. The releasing of pain is the beginning of freedom. When our hearts let go of our need for justice, we can live freely knowing that God makes all things new. There is no wrong done to us that will not be redeemed if we place it in the hands of an Almighty God.
Some of us are swimming in the shallow end of faith, because the deep end requires us to let go, forgive, and set it free. Sometimes, the justice we’re seeking is purely for our own selves, not for the glory of God. I often have to ask myself, “Heather, what’s the point? What are you seeking?” Then, God takes me to the prison cell, similar to the one Joseph found himself in for years after being wrongfully accused. I am reminded of God’s beautiful redemption of a life that was mistreated, abused and wrongfully accused.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”- Genesis 50:20
Sometimes my heart swims in the shallow end of faith because I keep waiting for God to birth my idea of redemption. I have a hard time being present in the moment because my heart keeps dwelling on the past. The past cannot define our future, for God restores all things. We need not fear for tomorrow, because we know that in Christ we have- true victory. The most dangerous place we can find ourselves in is the place of our own hearts that grow bitter darkness towards people. We must seek to actively let go of our pain to find our freedom in Christ.
Many people cannot shine their light for God, because the darkness in their hearts towards other people is snuffing it out. When our hearts burn brightly for God, it’s because our hearts are radiating with His love, truth, and peace. No heart can rest at peace when it is constantly mulling over the past.
Lord, I release everything in my heart to you. Today, I choose freedom and forgiveness. Today, I entrust the story of my life to you, knowing that you are a mighty God who makes all things new. Jesus, be my greatest joy, delight, and hope. Transform me, according to your love, in Jesus name, Amen.