When Church Hurts: Keep short accounts
Are you tired of living a defeated Christian life? Tell us about it.
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
Step 2 Keep short accounts
The simple truth of the Word of God says “do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26). This is so profoundly elementary that we often miss it. Seeds of irritations and annoyances, not dealt with on a daily basis, grow in our hearts. When they are not dealt with as soon as we recognize them, they take root. Each subsequent encounter with that same irritation, which will always be linked to some person, will cause that root to dig just a little deeper. The deeper it goes the more bitter it gets.
Scripture tells us “a root of bitterness springs up and defiles many” (Hebrews 12:15). When it finally spills out it hurts those around. Proverbs 4:23 tells us “above all else guard your heart for it is the well spring of life”. It is the very source of all we are. What is in our heart spills out the mouth (Matthew 12:34). It is by our very words that we often grieve the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:29&30). The trademark of love that identified us as His disciples vanishes and the world looking on can see no difference in us.
Guard your heart. Take stock every day. Keep short accounts for your own heart’s sake. If the root is only just beginning in your own heart and still undetected by others, go to God and ask for it’s removal. You know when it’s there. Ask for grace to be poured out in your heart so that you will have all the grace you need to deal with that particular situation and person.
2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things and at all times having all that you need you will abound in every good work.” If the root has already spilled out and hurt others go and confess to them. Even if they do not receive you or do not own their part of the conflict, keep your own heart guarded and clean. You are ever only responsible for one heart…your own! Unresolved conflict in the heart of another is God’s job to deal with.
The presence of God in a person’s life, and the truth allowed in the inner part, will be evident in the fruit of our lives. Watch the fruit in your own life and in the lives of others. The fruit always gives us away (Matthew 7:20). If you have owned your part in a conflict and others refuse to do the same, give them grace, pray for them, and, if necessary, distance yourself from the overflow of their bitter root until they allow God to do healing in their heart.
Always be alert to the seeds you allow in your heart. They eventually produce fruit of one kind or another. List the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness/humility, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
Ask yourself the simple question:
“What fruit of the Spirit is in short supply in my life right now?”
Then take an honest look at the seeds that may have begun to take root in your heart and deal honestly with them.
Questions: What fruit of the Spirit is in short supply in your life right now? Do you struggle with seeds of irritations and annoyances that you have not dealt with? Has a root of bitterness started to grow in your heart?