Have you ever wanted to say something that you knew was wrong? Words intended to sting or create a reaction? Words directed toward someone who legitimately hurt you first?
Oh, the inner turmoil! Your wounded heart wants to retaliate, and your sense of justice feels compelled to speak up. Unfortunately, the words of Scripture contradict. Ephesians 4 wisely instructs to build others up and not tear them down. To get rid of all bitterness and live compassionately toward one another. To bear with one another in love and forgive others as Christ has forgiven you.
Unfortunately, in the midst of your anguish, those words resemble white noise, don’t they?
Now, I’m not discouraging you from having an adult conversation about your pain. Or reaching out to express your hurt, with the goal of reconciliation. I am talking about using your words to subtly, or not so subtly, punch back.
Those kinds of words.
I have battled this and know how hard it is to keep quiet. Hurts hurt. But in those instances, my words are just an extension of my heart. My wounded heart that wants to wound the one who wounded me.
Recently I had an experience with this type of turmoil, and it all boiled down to bitterness. I had been reading Psalm 32 that day and paused to let verses 3-5 sink in. It talks about how sin (bitterness, in my case) has a way of “wasting away our bones” and “sapping our strength.” Yes, indeed! I was miserable! But it goes on to say that the psalmist acknowledged and confessed it to God. So, I followed that lead and declared to Him the state of my heart.
But then I got stuck.
I know confession goes hand-in-hand with repentance. I had conceded to allowing bitterness in but felt powerless to get it out! I realized all I was capable of was confession.
But God heard me, saw my tears, felt my sincerity and did what I couldn’t do. He walked me through the process of turning away from bitterness. It wasn’t a snap-of-the-finger experience. In fact, it was an entire day.
Everywhere I turned for 12 hours, I came face-to-face with one step after another. And by the end of it, my heart was in a much different place. A lot happened throughout that day and I might just make it my next blog, if you are interested. But for today, I want to focus on the truth found in Psalm 32:5. The psalmist confessed, and God took care of the rest.
That’s it. Period.
The psalm doesn’t mention how to get rid of what you confess. There’s no instruction on mustering up enough strength to do it. It just says he confessed, and it was done.
Now- I am not discounting or advocating a life without repentance. Our actions matter. But sometimes all we can do is admit we are headed down the wrong path. Sometimes a confession is all we can eek out.
And that’s ok. Following through in obedience will come later.
Don’t let your version of retaliation churn in your heart. Nothing positive ever emerges from it and getting rid of it is glorious. Just don’t expect to eliminate it by yourself. Remember, God can do “immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:22). Let me challenge you to take Him at His word.
So, if your wounded heart is steeped in anger, bitterness, rage or some other consuming and destructive emotion, confess it. And let God take it from there.
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