Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dealing with Resentment - part 3

In the last two days blog entries we have discussed the need to REJECT personal resentment in our lives. Today we finish our dialogue on Ephesians 4:31-32 by seeing hat rejecting resentment is not enough. We must also REPLACE the void that it leaves behind. According to verse 32, we are to replace resentment with three areas:

Area 1 – Be Kind

The word kind does not simply mean that we say nice things about a person. There is much more to being kind than just this. This is a word that means that we become useful to the person. In other words, it is not enough to simply “put away” resentment towards another person. As followers of Jesus we are to replace that resentment by becoming useful to them, even if they are considered our enemy. In Luke 6:35, Jesus said, “But love your enemies, and do good and lend expecting nothing in return.” You have not completely slain the monster of resentment in your life until you have replaced that resentment by becoming practically useful toward that individual. This is exactly how God Himself is described in Luke 6:35; Romans 2:4; and 1 Peter 2:3.

Area 2 – Be Tenderhearted

This is a word that means to be compassionate or pitiful. It is attempting to understand another person by having empathy for their pain and needs. Sometimes this is called “tender loving kindness.” One Sunday School teacher asked her 5-year old class what the difference was between kindness and tender loving kindness. One child explained it this way, “If I were hungry and you gave me a piece of bread, that would be kindness. But if you spread some jam on that piece of bread, that would be tender loving kindness.” We have not dealt with our personal resentment until we are willing to spread some jam on the bread of those who have hurt us.

Area 3 – Be Forgiving

Remember, forgiveness isn’t forgetting. Forgiveness is choosing not to bring the offense of another back up in order to use it as a weapon against them. Some might say, “But what if they don’t deserve my forgiveness?” Interestingly enough, the word “forgive” comes from the root word where we get our English word “grace.” Grace is undeserved favor. We are to forgive even if they don’t deserve it. After all, isn’t that how God forgave us? Is there one of us that deserved the forgiveness of God? Absolutely not! But even though we were sinners, when we came to Him by faith, trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, He responded with usefulness as He forgave us our sins. He spread some jam on our bread by making us one of His children. And he forgave us even though we in no way deserved it. Now we are called upon to do the same. As we are seeing in our present message series through the book of Philemon here at Grace Church, true Biblical Super Men and Super Women are those who choose to forgive.

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