The kingdom of God is like buried treasure (Matt 13:44). The kingdom of God is like a pearl (Matt 13:45). The kingdom of God is personified in Jesus (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus is truth (John 14:6). The kingdom of God is truth!
Don’t worry I’m not going to fill a whole blog post with one-liners. But there is a point to those I’ve mentioned above and I think they are best expressed through a story.
A few weeks ago my kids started school. I looked at my calendar to see that I worked the previous day (I work on 24 hour shifts) and I wouldn’t be able to get home in time to see my son and daughter before their first day.
So I arranged for someone to come in early so I could get home in time. A few minutes before my relief was supposed to be there the person called and said they forgot and that they’d be there in about 10 minutes. I glanced at the clock. It was going to make things pretty tight but it would still be okay.
I was still looking the clock when the station tones went off signaling an emergency. An hour later I returned to the station to the very apologetic friend of mine who’d failed to show up.
I smiled while I burned inside. They continued to apologize while I didn’t say much of anything at all. My anger kept churning as I walked away transforming into all sorts of unpleasant thoughts and judgments. My anger had morphed into bitterness and offense.
As I made my way towards my car I suddenly became aware of the presence of God in the midst of my tumultuous mind. I realized that if I was going to acknowledge His presence I was going to have to put my anger, bitterness and offense at risk and I wasn’t sure I was ready to do that. But a few minutes later I found the courage to do just that.
I reminded myself that I was, even in that moment, consumed in the ocean of His love. The ocean began to extinguish the fire ranging in my belly. As the flames hissed and disappeared into steam my mind began to clear. I began to hear the voice of the Lord say; I want you to reevaluate what happened. I want you to consider your friends intentions.
So I did and the truth began to rise out of the muck like refined gold. My friend wanted to help me. It was important to the person that I could leave and make it home in time. The person just forgot. A mistake was made. It wasn’t personal. They didn’t decide the night before to disregard the commitment. My friend was sincerely apologetic. As the truth hit my heart I felt my whole attitude began to change. Yes I was still grieving my loss but now that the lies had been replaced by truth I was in a position to be comforted and healed.
And now I’ll bring back the one-liners from the first paragraph. I have found in my experience that we tend to be a people that react quickly and harshly much of the time. Some of us react outwardly and make our displeasure unmistakable and others internalize. In both cases the damage can be extensive.
It would be another thing entirely if, when we react, we react with truth. But unfortunately we often don’t. The truth gets buried under the lies we are fed by our adversary. Lies that we quickly believe without so much as a question. We become instantly confident that people hurt us on purpose and that nothing exists in them but darkness. It’s nothing but personal almost every single time. It might surprise us to find out how much of our displeasure, offense, bitterness and anger towards others are based entirely on a facade, a false picture of reality painted by the one who hates us (parents to kids, employee to boss, friend to friend, spouse to spouse, etc.).
I have no problem with anger in and of itself. It’s an emotion and we are emotional beings created by an emotional God. But while emotions are a natural occurrence with beings created to feel, judgments and bitterness are always a choice that extend beyond our natural processes.
We were not created to judge the hearts of others. We were not created to assume the worst in people. We were not created to see only the darkness. But that’s all our adversary shows us and if there happens to be no specific darkness, he makes it up.
We were created to be loved and to love others (amongst many other things). We are called to seek the kingdom. We are called to pick up the spades and shovels and dig through all the dirt, grime, and muck in order to expose the truth. So next time we feel ourselves begin to react let’s do our best to take a deep breath, remember His presence, pick up the tools He’s given us, and dig for the truth. After all, it’s only truth (Jesus) that sets us free from captivity.
**I understand that there are times people intentionally hurt us. But the principle remains the same. There is truth to be had that will set us free from the torment of bitterness and offense. Truth we won’t see if we just blindly let our anger take us to judgments. We just need to take our tools and dig for it. **
Jesse and Kara Birkey
Jesse and Kara Birkey are committed lovers of Jesus who seek to show others the extraordinary life of Jesus is available for everyone. They have authored two books, been featured in films and seek to serve the Lord in whatever ways they can. Follow their blog here.
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Life Resurrected, Extraordinary Miracles through Ordinary People has been endorsed by Sid Roth and Mark Virkler and is a collection of inspiring stories making it clear that the extraordinary life of Jesus is available to all who love Him. It’s also the testimony of Jesse’s life, the road he travelled bringing him into the arms of Jesus. Get the paperback here. Get the Kindle Version Here. View the trailer here.
Marriage What’s the Point? One couple finds meaning in a crazy mess is the story of their marriage—The tragedy and the restoration. They bear their hearts in an attempt to get others to bear theirs and finally receive the freedom they’ve longed for. Get the paperback here. Get the Kindle Version Here.