In my last post, I talked about slaying the monster that lives in most of our churches. In case you missed it, here’s the link. For those who don’t want to read the last post, here’s the spoiler: The Church Monster is Unforgiveness.
So, let’s get to the good stuff. Let’s slay the Church Monster.
Step 1 (The Hardest Part):
I’ll be honest up front. The first step to slaying the Church Monster is most definitely the hardest. To understand what forgiveness means from a biblical standpoint, we need a quick lesson in Greek. (don’t worry, I promise it will be painless)
The Greek word that is often used for forgiveness is Aphiemi (which is fun to say). It is made up of 2 words combined. The first part of it means literally: to let go or to drop. And the second part of it means: to put it in motion. So forgiveness does not mean to just “drop it like it is hot and walk away”. Forgiveness literally means drop it, kick it, throw it, launch it out of a rocket launcher …. Send it away from you as fast as you can.
Forgiveness literally means to let it go.
If I truly want to forgive someone, I must actually be willing to let go of what they have done.
Wait What? That’s Not Fair!
Normally, people who have been hurt deeply can’t move past Step 1. Believe me, I get it. We need to forgive because we have been hurt by someone else. Whether the other person meant to hurt us or not, we are still hurt. So I understand that for me to come along and say we have to be willing to let the hurt go seems totally unfair.
Honestly, it is totally unfair. More often than not, we want the person who hurt us to feel the same kind of pain that we felt. Or we want them to hurt worse. Let’s be honest.
Can I say something that is probably not very pastoral sounding? When someone hurts us, they deserve to be hurt in return. The desire we have to see them suffer the way we suffered has a name. We call it Revenge.
But, when we hang onto Bitterness we are basically feeding the Church Monster and keeping it as a pet. We justify keeping our monster by saying things like “you don’t know how badly that person hurt me.” Which is true, I don’t know how badly you were hurt. Still it doesn’t change the fact that hanging onto bitterness means keeping a Church Monster in your closet.
God’s Extraordinary Ask
So even though we have the desire and maybe even the right to want revenge, God is asking us to do something extraordinary. The Lord asks us to allow him the right to pursue revenge instead of us. (Check out Romans 12:19). The Bible makes it clear that we are to slay the Monster of Bitterness by letting go of our right to revenge.
Is it Really Worth It?
I’ve been hurt by people. And, in fairness, I have also hurt many people. I bring this up simply because I know how easy it is to keep a Church Monster. But, if I can be honest, keeping Bitterness in my life only really hurts me.
So the question I have for Step 1 is this: is keeping the bitterness in your life really worth it? It’s your right to keep it there. But how does it help?
Ultimately, keeping a Church Monster really only hurts us.
The invitation is actually make the choice to let your bitterness go.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: What makes it hard for you to let go of bitterness?