Many years ago our family were sitting enjoying a meal at our dinner table. Our dinner table is never quiet—there is a lot of talking, too much laughing, and way too much eating. For some reason we got on to a topic that ignited a flame of anger in my heart about a past hurt. I flared up with all the passion in me about the issue at hand. My daughter, usually a person of few words, looked up at me and said: "Mom, you need to build a bridge and get over it." I was totally taken aback—to say the least! I know I had mentioned this issue previously, but I felt that my comments had been measured and fair. However, my daughter stopped me in my tracks and made me think about what I had said, but more than that she challenged me to think seriously about my attitude.
My daughter was not nice! But she was kind. You see, there is a difference between being nice and being kind. If Anna wanted to be nice to me, she would have sympathized with me and made me feel justified about my poor attitude. Or perhaps she could have sat quietly and listened and nodded her head in sympathy and agreement. In so doing, she would have pandered to my carnality and allowed me to continue along the pathway to further anger and continued indulgence in my pity party.
Anna, is not the only person who has challenged my rotten attitudes. There are many other people who have not been nice to me, but in so doing, have been kind to me. I am thankful to each one of the people who have challenged me in my journey to build and bridge and get over it.
If you have found yourself harping on about an issue, replaying hurts over and again in your mind, telling your spouse perpetually of your anger about a particular situation—let me take this opportunity to be kind to you and make a few simple suggestions. These few points are probably not going to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but hopefully they will challenge you to move forward.
Recognize your problem: No one wants to hear the same old story over and over. This is especially true if the story is not a good one. If your heart is full of anger or hurt and you find yourself repeating the facts over and over—you have a problem! You need to recognize this so that you can move forward. Yes, I know I am not being nice, but hopefully you will see that I am endeavoring to be kind.
Repent of your attitude: No, don't wait for an apology from the person who has offended you. No, don't pray that God will convict them. The person who has hurt or angered you is God's problem. You are the guardian of your heart, so please ensure that you protect it from anger and bitterness. God wants you to repent of your attitude so that you can move forward into the wonderful future He has for you.
Move forward: God gave you two eyes, a nose and a mouth in the front of your face. He gave you two feet that face forward. Everything about His design of our physical being was to move us forward and not backwards. Don't keep looking back and going over old ground. Let go of the issue and move forward into the future that God has for you.
Place measures in your life to ensure you don't go backwards: Make yourself accountable to someone—ask them to challenge you if you bring up the old hurt, anger or bitterness. Ensure that you guard your heart on a daily basis—read God's Word, speak to Him often and find a community that will help you through your times of need.
The great news my friend, is that no experience is ever wasted. Even our hurtful experiences are not redundant. If we keep our hearts right, God will take our past experiences and He will channel them to make us better, stronger and more effective for His kingdom. So, my friend, in the words of my daughter; build a bridge and get over it. Why let the hurts, failures, anger or bitterness of yesterday limit your today? Move forward into the incredible, bright future God has for you.
I am and always will be,
recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,