Just Put it on the Shelf by AChuckAllen
Have you ever had “that person” in your life? You know, that person that brings the very worst of yourself to the surface and their very presence seems to morph you into the most hateful person on the planet? O, really? You don’t have that person in your life? Good for you.
I think most people do have at least one of those folks in their life. I know that I have. And I have found that there is only one way out of the anger, bitterness, resentment or betrayal that you feel. No, really. Just a one way street out of ulcer gulch.
Let me give you a brief history of how I know this to be true.
I’ve had the privilege to work for and with some great folks over the years. But once you cease offering some folks anything but your friendship, it can go south in a hurry. I’ve had friends that disappeared over my choice to get married again after my first wife passed away. I’ve had relationships dashed upon the cliffs once I had to choose family over their need for me to help them. I’ve watched as people in the church have spoken all kinds of ill will and hatred about me, knowing it wasn’t true. And yes, I’ve had folks seek to harm me and my family for who knows what reason. We all have had our fair share of envy, hatred, evil, power or bigotry.
But here’s the deal. You have too. And if you haven’t, it’s just a matter of time. We are fallen people, living in a fallen world. And as the Scriptures say, “it rains on the righteous and the unrighteousness.”
Here’s the one way to move forward and beyond all the drama, ill will and hurt found in these matters of hatred. It’s a three step process:
- You must forgive them! I know that every neuron in your body is pinging you to get back at them and make them pay for what they did. Here’s the problem. It won’t end, and it won’t make things better. But it will cause you more grief and frustration. I know you know this, but forgiving doesn’t require you to actually speak to them and say, “hey, I just want you to know that I forgive you.” All it takes is your heart releasing the hurt and emotional pain. For most of us forgiveness isn’t an action, it’s a season. Get to work on your season of forgiveness and enjoy a clean heart.
- Treat that hurt like an old encyclopedia. Put it up on the top shelf of your bookshelf of your life and forget it’s there. Sometimes you put relationships there. Sometimes you put hurt and anxiety there. Often you need to put your past there. But the point of it being an encyclopedia is that it’s worthless to you. It’s old news and yet, it’s still a part of your life. Just put the resentment, bitterness or revenge in the encyclopedia and leave it on that shelve you have that just collects dust. Whatever you do, don’t get it down! Step away from the shelf and do not reach back for the old encyclopedia. It’s days are over.
- Stop inviting pain and misery into your life. If you know a person, place or thing that is stealing joy from your day, guard your soul with the things of life that fill your soul with joy. This is a life-long learning for me. I know you want to help or try to fix everything, but you can’t. Listen friend, Jesus didn’t heal every person in every town, even though He could have, so why do you think you are to do that? I hate it when I need to write as I look into a mirror. Choose with ruthless intention to not invite drama, pain, anxiety or ill will into your life. You are to guard your heart, not just from evil, but also from reckless inclusion of pain.
I trust these might help you. I know I’ve got a long way to go as I struggle to learn these lessons, but I’ve been around long enough to know that they are necessary to live in peace,