Slaying the Church Monster (part 1)

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?

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3 thoughts on “Slaying the Church Monster (part 1)

  1. The longer you hold on to bitterness the harder it is to let go of it. I spent years hating my stepfather for the terrible things he did to me when I was a kid. It wasn’t until I was 47 and met my husband and he helped me to understand that forgiveness was for me not for my stepfather so much. I wrote a long letter to my stepfather to explain to him why I had been angry and then I gave him the Gospel and ended up by saying that I hoped to see him in heaven and that I knew that we would be friends there. I’m glad I did it I have never regretted doing that and I have never had any in forgiveness in my heart against him since the day that I sent that letter. There have been other people in my life who have made me angry, very angry but compared to what I went through with my stepfather they couldn’t compare. I still get angry but I realize that anger hurts me more than it hurts them and I pray and I read my Bible and I let it go. The worst thing about being angry with people is being uncomfortable with them afterwards. I don’t believe that that is unforgiveness but just a normal reaction to the situation. I find that as long as I don’t distance myself from them and just continue on that it eventually becomes less difficult. I believe that the most important thing to remember when you’re angry with someone is to keep your mouth shut about it unless you’re talking to God. I have not always followed that rule and it has cost me a lot of mental anguish. James 5 says that God judges our groaning and complaining. I believe that the anguish that we feel after talking the problem is part of that judgment. I’m thankful for that mental anguish because then I know that it’s wrong. It’s hard to be thankful when you’re in the middle of a test but it makes you stronger the next time a trial comes. And after all isn’t that what unforgiveness is…a test? I’m not sure that there is such a thing as righteous anger. I have never felt righteous after being very angry. But the solution to that is pretty easy. 1 John 1:9

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  2. Hi Bobbie,
    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate you sharing your journey with forgiveness. I had never considered the idea of unforgiveness being a test for us. It certainly is an opportunity for us to trust God in an extremely difficult situation. I will have to think on that one some more. Thanks!

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    1. Here’s my reasoning, for what it’s worth: Eph. 1:4-5 He knew me before Creation… John 6:37 I am a gift from God to Jesus… Romans 8:28 He works out ALL things for the GOOD of THOSE WHO love Him. So, I either have to believe that God is in control of ALL of my life or His words are not true. He loves me, He knows me, He has a plan for me and finally, he allows me to go through these trials for my benefit and mostly, for His glory. And believe me, those who say that God will never give you more than you can handle are either deceiving themselves or God’s playing favorites; and we know that He doesn’t…Romans 2:11, Deut. 10:17 What He does say and what I know is that He will never give me more than HE can handle.

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