I’m grateful for God’s power to change my heart.
Several months ago I let frustration and resentment build up in a relationship with someone I care about. And I felt justified. As time went on, I became more resentful, and my heart began to harden against this person. I started to fixate on all the things I didn’t like, all the ways they had hurt me, which prevented me from seeing anything good. One night in an angry vent session to my husband, I stopped short and said “I need to pray right now.” As we prayed, the Holy Spirit reminded me how much God loves this person. I felt a strong conviction and I knew what the Lord wanted from me. My voice cracked as I choked out, “Lord, please help me love them too.”
This was the beginning of a change of heart. Over the next few days, every time I thought of this person, I prayed. I prayed and cried as God softened my heart, making room for love and compassion. I could finally see this person as broken, someone needing my forgiveness. In my brokenness, Jesus has always met me with forgiveness, compassion and mercy. Not only does He call me to respond in the same way, He gives me the power to do it.
In the Bible, to repent means to change one’s mind. The Bible tells us true repentance will result in a change of action. Imagine yourself walking down a hallway. Now abruptly turn and walk the other way. A 180 degree change in direction. That is true repentance. With repentance comes God’s power. When my thoughts are in alignment with His, then my actions are, too.
I knew in this situation God was calling me to take action. He wanted me to speak the truth to this person, to confront them with a desire for restoration. To speak the truth in love.
But I was nervous.
It takes courage to take a stand, but it takes real courage to put a friendship on the line to speak the truth. And it takes humility to speak that truth in love.
God had been preparing my heart. Gone was the bitterness and resentment; what remained was love and concern for a dear friend.
I’m thrilled to share with you that with prayer and obedience, our conversation was absolutely blessed. In fact, before I could even begin to share my heart, they revealed they had been having revelation about some of their behavior that was hurtful and wrong. They welcomed my feedback and agreed with my concerns. They invited me to continue to speak into their life, to help them with these issues.
I sat there amazed. Amazed at the power of God. Amazed at the living God who is real and active and who cares so deeply for His people.
As believers, we ache for an experience of God. Some believe experiencing God will result in some sort of supernatural ecstasy that overwhelms and shakes our core. We cry out like Moses did for God to show us His glory. But I believe I experienced God and His glory in this intimate moment of truth with my friend. Exodus 34 tells us that God’s glory is the manifestation and revelation of His love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and justice.
When we repent of our bitterness in relationships, and allow God’s love to flow through us, we experience God’s glory. We experience God.
Who are you holding bitterness and resentment against today?
How is that impacting your life?
He wants to set you free. Those who know and live the truth are free. Free indeed.
I encourage you to pray right now. Pray for your heart to soften and for bitterness to be replaced with forgiveness and openness to possibility.
All things are possible with God.
What are you grateful for today?