Picture Somebody in your life that has hurt you. Maybe it was your best friend. Or your Mom. Maybe it was your boyfriend or girlfriend. Your teacher. Your coach. Your co-worker. Your boss. A random person at the store.
Now picture that person saying something to you or about you that was offensive either on purpose or by accident. They let you down. Hurt you. They took a swat at your character that left a bright red mark.
Maybe it was earlier today. Maybe it was yesterday or last week. Perhaps last year. Maybe it was years ago. But you remember clearly, don’t you?
It still hurts the same as it did when it happened, doesn’t it?
Now hold your hands over that scar that has been opened up and relish in the Pain.
Feel the scar burning and searing as hot blood rises from under the surface of your skin and covers your once clean, healed self with a new, fresh wound.
That person deserves to be mistreated right back. That person deserves vengeance.
Your wound talks into your ear.
That Person deserves to be hurt just like you are hurting.
Dwell on the Pain and observe how it moves from your Self to those around you.
Feel my pain. See how I hurt and bleed because of you.
Now look in the mirror, and see the Bear of Resentment looking back at you:
When we turn to resentment, we become unapproachable, like a killer bear.
That’s you. You are the resentful bear. Feels good to be a killer bear after someone shot an arrow atcha, doesn’t it. That bowman will be sorry once he realizes that his target isn’t the deer he may’ve thought. He’ll be sure not to approach you since there’s foam spraying out from your gnarled fangs and you’re stance screams KILL.
It’s a shame though, isn’t it. That the only reason he shot you was because of your personal Expectations.
Yep. Ya heard. It’s you, buddy. YOU are the reason why the hunter shot and you became a bear and skeered away all of your friends.
It wasn’t your friends (the hunters) fault for targeting you. The fact is: people are always going to offend us. They will hurt us, let us down, and mistreat us. You know why?
- Because they’re human and screw up a lot. Don’t you?
- They’re selfish and have expectations of their own. Don’t you?
- And they don’t know your expectations either. Do you know theirs?
- Lastly, humans can’t read minds! Can you?
Don’t say yes, ya filthy liar. Only God can do that.
So why do we expect others to be perfect, when we are far from perfect?
Bruce Lee said it. This life ain’t roses and butterflies. It’s supposed to be hard and bothersome, arrow-filled. Without the hard stuff, how could we be perfected and learn to love better? Lord knows we need to be.
There was only one perfect human that ever lived on Earth. Jesus Christ.
“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 1 Peter 2:22
Jesus is the only person who had a clean heart, and whose actions were morally perfect and all came from God Himself. We, on the other hand, are selfish humans who deny God and please ourselves by sinning, all the time.
Not one of us is deserving or capable of perfect love, yet we expect it from the people in our lives and then get upset when they don’t live up to our expectations.
Expectations lead to disappointment.
Throw away expectations. If you don’t expect anything from anybody, every positive interaction will be a blessing. It’s when we expect others to treat us a certain way, and they don’t live up to our preconceptions, that we get let down. It’s when we expect others not to offend or upset us, because “that’s not what they’re supposed to do!”, that we get offended and upset.
How could we know whether or not the hunter was shooting at us intentionally to hurt us? Maybe he didn’t see us and hit us by accident.
Don’t let the common misconception that we’re supposed to always be comfortable set up an expectation that will disappoint you.
It’s learning how to have the hard conversations that grows us and stretches us. It’s learning how to separate A) Somebody from B) their words or actions from C) the truth/meaning behind the words or actions. It’s D) acknowledging that as a human, we are no better than anyone else and we should always E) treat others as we’d like to be treated.
In Colossians 3:12-14 God tells us to “clothe” ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Do you see the words “resentful grizzly bear” anywhere in there?
This fluffy teddy bear, on the other hand, is much more approachable. 🙂
Things to remember:
If resentment makes us into a deadly grizzly, we will remain angry and push people away. We may be acting deadly and dangerous for nothing if we jump to hasty anger and don’t empathize or forgive. For resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the person we resent gets sick.
Much of it is in our heads, and unless we look on our brothers with understanding, peace and love, we are expecting them to hurt us, or conditionally loving them when they fail; both things that lead us away from becoming better image-bearers of Christ: aka better humans!
Would life be easier if we dared to love more and not open the door to resentment? <3
Would life be easier if we forgave more easily and focused on loving unconditionally? <3
Challenge for the week:
- Apologize to somebody that you’ve had a falling out with for offending them, and ask them to forgive you for what you said or did.
- Forgive somebody you’re upset with and tell them you love them, even though they let you down. Tell them you know you can work it out, and that it’s not the end of the world. Tell them that you fail all. the. time. whether they see it or not.
- Stop acting inhuman. We’re all human here, and we are far from perfect. But we are godly, and we are capable of much deeper, accepting and forgiving love than we give right now; through Christ alone.
Be amazed at what amazing love comes back to you when you avoid resentment and love others… Every day, every hour, is an opportunity to get closer to God; closer to love. Now go get ’em tigers! Or lions. Or bears. Oh my.