When Church Hurts: Keep short accounts

Written by Gail Rodgers

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?

Part 1: Know Your Enemy
Part 3: Accountability
Part 4: Pride
Part 5: Plant Stakes

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8 Responses to “When Church Hurts: Keep short accounts”

  • kanj says:

    i have to say that ‘patience’ or a lack there-of is the fruit that I find keeps coming up short supply. patience is there but not in it’s fullest sense.
    i’ve let bitterness go long ago now but i will admit that i do stil struggle with it otherwise i wouldn’t feel the occasional to sometimes constant irritation. Thank God I am a sinner, as perfect I know i’m not. God and I work constantly as a team in repairing this heart.

  • sharonb says:

    thank you for this wonderful devotional

  • Cathy says:

    I find it is often easier to let little irritations go in the public sector such as church. It is in private relationships, such as marriage that it becomes more challenging. I try to fogive and forget and let God, but when I am caught off guard, it is easy for past disappointments to resurface. When a person constantly has the same behavior it is hard to always overlook. I do find talking it over with God does give me a different perspective, especially when you take the time to really be still and listen to what God has to say.

  • Arlette says:

    “Be alert to the seeds that you allow in your heart” I have read this before but never really connected it. My NY resolution was to put the past behind me. How often I have heard that said but never thought how to really do that. There is much that I need to remember so I do not go down that path again but the rest I am letting go. All the hurts that others have caused, that I have caused and all the ways I have hurt myself ( there are hundreds of these memories) are what I pray daily to let go. Yesterday I caught myself in a swirl of a bad memory. Oh what I could have said then and how unfair it all was. It was like I was there again and all that hurt and anger was new. I stopped myself and told myself the only thing I could remember at that moment “be still and know that I am God”. I did and I felt such peace. I forgave the people in that memory again and thanked God that His power is always there for us to call upon. In guarding my heart I have also learned to use caution as to what I let into it. Some of my favorite shows and books are things I have let go because though they seem harmless, plant seeds that are not what God would want according to His words. Thank you so much for helping me to think and giving me another of His precious verses to commit to memory.

  • dr-vino john daniel says:

    What a Blessed message.since we live in this world and since we are allways exposed to this world and its sin.How much carefull we should be in guarding our hearts against bitterness anger and other sins.How much we need the power of helper HOLYSPIRIT and the protection of precious blood of JESUS in guarding our hearts and life.Though we claim as christians we need to really check ,what all fruits of holyspirit we really lack and then replace the counter fruits by totally surrendering to GODS forgiveness and Transforming power and help from Holyspirit that HE shall Bless us with HIS spirit.May GOD bless each one of you.

  • Faith says:

    Gail you are truly a wise and mighty woman of God (I hope youre reading this). The way you allow God to use you is truly encouraging to all woman who need to dig deeper in their walk with God. Ive even forwarded this devotional to my husband and another male friend who found it to be very helpful.

  • La says:

    This was such a good devotional… it made me stop and think: Am I falling short on any of the fruits of the Spirit. I surprised myself on what I may really be lacking most. Thank you.

  • Robin says:

    I thank God for the soundness of this internet ministry. What a good and important word for today. I’m pretty sure that unfortunately, too many of us have had instances of grievances that have gone unresolved in Church, and of course, it should not be so. A situation involving people I love has come up over the years and returns to my heart times over. May Jesus help us live His Word and my His Spirit rule and reign, in all of us, every day of our lives.

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