But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Luke 6:27-28 NLT
I didn’t want to listen. I was mad. I was hurt. I wanted vengeance.
The lies, the mean words, plus the passive aggressive maneuvering had pushed me over the tolerance ledge. I was ready to tell anyone and everyone my truth. I wanted the lying snake to have his head chopped off. The painted smile of constraint was quickly fading away from my face. If the opportunity had presented itself, I would have unloaded a truck load of wrongs on an unsuspecting friend and buried them in my stinky heap of anger and bitterness.
But, God had a different plan. The lying snake was his to deal with, not mine. I am not a snake handler and trying to wrestle with the enemy snake in my life was ultimately going to end badly for me. You see, the longer I tried to hold onto this snake of vengeful anger, the more I was being repeatedly struck with the deadly poison of resentment.
My soul was being poisoned by the bite of bitterness every time I reached into my hurt feelings in order to strangle that snake. My determination to “bring down” my so called enemy was hurting me. My slash and burn tactics were destroying me and damaging the people around me.
In Luke 6:27-28, God calls us to act differently when we are wronged. He wants us to deal with those who slight us differently. He wants us to back off and let him handle the snakes in our lives.
He knows that if we are left to our own devices we will blow anger and animosity everywhere, like dandelions spreading seeds of bitterness all over the place. Instead, he entreats us to love and pray for those who hurt us. He requires that we relinquish the revenge to him. This doesn’t mean we become doormats or let abuse go unreported and unchecked, but it does mean that in those everyday wrongs we endure, we take them to God instead of the gossip chain.
Love. Do Good. Bless. Pray.
As for the snake in my life, God handled it. Unfortunately, for me it took a long time to get over the bitterness that had built up around my heart from the anger I felt. God had to soften my heart and rebuild my relationship with Him over the course of several years.
My “snake” experience taught me to take my hurt feelings and disappointments in people to God in prayer so that they don’t become venomous bites of bitterness that eventually destroy me.
What snake do you need to release to God in order to stop being poisoned by the fangs of anger and bitterness?
Things to ponder: What “snake” are you trying to wrestle with today?
Have you spread seeds of anger? Ask God to forgive you and work to repair the damage it may have caused.
Who do you need to pray for today?
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.