THURSDAY, AUGUST 20
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT2)
LET THE SHEPHERD REPLACE MY GRUDGES
One day, two monks were walking through the countryside. They were on their way to another village to help bring in the crops. As they walked, they spied an old woman sitting at the edge of a river. She was upset because there was no bridge, and she could not get across on her own. The first monk kindly offered, “We will carry you across if you would like.” “Thank you,” she said gratefully, accepting their help. So the two men joined hands, lifted her between them and carried her across the river. When they got to the other side, they set her down, and she went on her way.
After they had walked another mile or so, the second monk began to complain. “Look at my clothes,” he said. “They are filthy from carrying that woman across the river. And my back still hurts from lifting her. I can feel it getting stiff.” The first monk just smiled and nodded his head.
A few more miles up the road, the second monk griped again, “My back is hurting me so badly, and it is all because we had to carry that silly woman across the river! I cannot go any farther because of the pain.” The first monk looked down at his partner, now lying on the ground, moaning. Have you wondered why I am not complaining?” he asked. “Your back hurts because you are still ‘carrying’ the woman. But I set her down five miles ago.”
That is what many of us are like in dealing with our families. We are that second monk who cannot let go. We hold the pain of the past over our loved ones’ heads like a club, or we remind them every once in a while, when we want to get the upper hand, of the burden we still carry because of something they did years ago. (Dr. Anthony T. Evans, Guiding Your Family in a Misguided World)
Who are you still carrying on your back? Mike reminded us on Sunday that God doesn’t just want us to stop destructive behavior, but He wants us to replace it with God honoring behavior. Reread Ephesians 4:31-32 above. Underline the destructive behaviors God wants us to get rid of in our lives. Circle the godly behavior God wants us to replace it with.
Thank God for the example of forgiveness Jesus modeled for you. Ask God to Shepherd your heart and lead you away from any grudges you are holding.