Archive for June 21st, 2014

Words were on my tongue, out my mouth, and scorching the air between us like flames from a blow-torch. Why did I react like that? My heart twisted between anger and shame. Richard sat red faced, but silent. His hands played the clasp-release game with the steering wheel.

He wheeled the car to a stop at the curb. I threw the door open,DSCF2348 and in a silent huff, picked up my Bible, pasted a sanctimonious smile on my face, and marched into sanctuary.

Ack! My mother’s words echoed in my ears—your actions speak so loud, I can’t hear what you’re saying.

I wish I could tell you that’s the only time my ungodly actions out-screamed respect for my husband and trust in God. But it’s not.

The next terrifying thought as I entered that holy place, Did anyone see us flinging torches at one another? And the stirring in my conscience said, “Yes. God did.”

And like the Spirit always does when He has my attention, the next thing through my mind was the fact the disagreement ignited the night before and escalated this morning—when I had disobey God and gone to bed angry. Because I know I’m twice as livid when I wake up.

Good thing I wasn’t playing baseball. Strike one—going to bed angry the night before. Strike two— fighting with my husband on the way to worship God. One more strike and I’d be out. But God doesn’t act like we do. He uses the scriptures we hide in our hearts to bring us to repentance.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NAS). Ouch! I had imagestirred a hornet’s nest for sure. There wasn’t a gentle bone in my body when I lashed out at my husband. We might as well have turned around and gone home.

“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:26-27 NAS).

Opportunity? When I rolled over and refused to speak to him Saturday night. I chose to give the devil access to my heart’s super highway with a full tank of gas and a pedal shoved to the floorboard.

And if you’d asked me at another time and place, I would have counseled, “Never go to bed angry.”

But I did.

I knew what God’s Word said. Yet, my arrogance and pride allowed sin to fester and take me where I knew I shouldn’t go, and produced a situation that chipped at our marriage. Worse still, those selfish choices could have destroyed our testimony of loving Jesus and each other to anyone watching.

The sad part of this confession is we all repeat similar scenes over and over again. My husband and I have been married thirty-eight years and I’m sure if we could see emotional battle scars we’ve inflicted on each other and on our children, we’d be on our faces, horrified.file4611347287108

But God sees those wounds we’ve imposed and refused to repented of. He sees the wounds inflicted on us, as well as the slice-and-dice wounds we’ve not yet perpetrated.

And He still loves us. And waits for us to come to the end of our foolishness and run to Him for forgiveness and cleansing. However, He warns, in the same manner we forgive others, He will forgive us.

“For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:14-15 NAS).

The first time I read and understood this passage, truth and fear stabbed my heart. “Father.” I cried. “I can never remember all the times I’ve been angry and hurt others. Or the times I’ve been angry and unforgiving with Richard. What can I do?”

Immediately a high school dean I had unloaded on over a situation with my son a year or so before came to mind. My mind argued, but I was right and he was wrong. That still small voice whispered, “Your words were angry and ugly and you haven’t forgiven him.”

I vowed to forgive him and promised if God would bring him across my path I would apologize and ask his forgiveness. That same evening as I pulled into the church parking lot the high school dean and his wife parked beside me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I didn’t even know they attended our church. A parade of excuses lined up and marched soldier straight through my brain.

DSC09455-BAnd the still small voice asked, “Well?”

With trembling hands and a terrified heart I stuttered an apology, confessed my anger, and asked the dean to forgive me. The weight lifted, was cast behind my Lord’s back, into the depth of the sea, never to be remembered by Him again.

But I remember, and every so often I ask God to remind me of anything I need to ask His and another person’s forgiveness for. And He is always prompt and faithful to shine His truth into the dark places of my heart.

How about you? Do people know you’re a believer by the way you DSC_5394handle business? How about the way you dress and your lifestyle? Your actions and reactions? Are the places you frequent consistent with your faith? Do books you read, TV and movies you watch honor God or the devil?

Do you struggle aligning your actions with your words and your faith in God? You’re not alone. We’re all in this battle together. Like me, do you have side-roads of unforgiveness and anger or resentment and bitterness, barricading your heart? Roads that will drag you down Satan’s detour to destruction?

“…from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?” (James 3:10-11 NAS).

Our lives are to be a beacon of light that points others to Jesus. But we are instructed to forgive—seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22 NAS).

Forgiveness is a choice. The minute we choose to forgive someone, if we’re a child of the King, it’s done. But forgiveness is also a life-sentence. We must unconditionally forgive them all, over and over again, ‘til Jesus comes.

Life in the here and now is a war zone, a battle to overcome the lusts of our flesh, the pride of our eyes, and the deceitfulness of our hearts. Our goal is for our actions, our words, and our testimony to match and give glory to our Lord God Almighty.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7 NAS).

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