Written by: Brianna Williamson
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Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with
every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
- Ephesians 4:31-32
*Knock, Knock* “Hey, it’s me! Just thought I’d stop by.”
Oh no, I’m still in my pajamas, you think to yourself as you look around frantically.
“Hey, uhh give me just a minute!” There is the mountain of dirty laundry that still hasn’t been done sitting out. You quickly shove it into the closet and shut the door. You make a mental note, there will most definitely be an avalanche the next time that door is opened. You start pulling from the pile of dishes in the sink and start throwing them into the dishwasher. You run into the bathroom to check yourself in the mirror.
“Welp, this is just going to have to do.”
Have you ever heard the metaphor that our heart is like a house?
Just as we have many rooms for different purposes filled with different things in our homes, our heart has different spaces for holding different emotions and parts of ourselves. Even though God has already seen all that is inside of us (He did create us after all) He won’t just barge in, because that is not His character. He will knock at the door but He will wait for us to welcome Him in (Revelation 3:20). And just like most polite house guests, He will only come into the parts we allow Him in. He won’t go in and open closets where we have just shoved the dirty clothes. He won’t go pilfering through the disorganized stacks of tubs in the basement filled with all the things we have been meaning to go through and get rid of.
The amazing, and sometimes fear-inducing thing about God is that even when we don’t show Him these areas, He knows that those areas are there. 1 John 3:20 says, “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” He knows those parts of our heart that are filled with the dirty things - the pain, anger, and untrue beliefs - because He is truly God. He is more than willing to help us clean out and sort through, but we have to recognize His ability to do so and overcome the fear of fully letting Him in.
It can seem so much easier to hold on to bitterness than to go through the process of fully opening up our hearts. When we have to face those hurts for a second time we feel the pain all over again. Our bodies and minds, in an attempt to protect us, tell us to leave it stuffed away, but the truth is we cannot protect ourselves from hurt.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. - John 16:33
Oftentimes we feel like the other person deserves punishment or doesn’t deserve forgiveness, but only the person experiencing bitterness feels that bitterness (Proverbs 14:10). Holding on to resentment really only hurts the person carrying it in their heart.
God wants to heal our bitterness! Paul writes telling us that we should put in effort to keep unity (Ephesians 4:3). When we hold on to anger and hurt, we are causing division within the body of Christ.
There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called -- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. - Ephesians 4: 4-7
God uniquely made each of our hearts and through Christ we are offered just the right kind and amount of grace that we need. God’s grace, which is the favor and gifts He is able to offer us despite our sin, is enough for all of us through the power of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9). And thanks to Christ’s display of forgiveness and grace for us on the cross, we are able to see how displaying forgiveness and true love, though painful, is so much better for our hearts than holding on to bitterness, rage, anger and malice.
God is waiting for an intimate relationship with you where you are willing to offer all parts of yourself to Him. One full of healing, gifts of grace, and unconditional love. So the next time He knocks, consider opening up the door knowing just how loved you are, regardless of the mess inside.
1. What is one area of your heart that you are still not willing to present to God?
2. What steps can you take to prepare yourself to fully let God in?
Lord, thank You for Your grace and unconditional love. I pray that You continually provide each of us the strength to continue letting You into our hearts daily. It can be a painful process, but I know and believe that You, through the power of your Son, are longing to come inside and do a healing work in each of us. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
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