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Focus: Making things right
Psalm 139:1-3 (NIV) You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.
There are some ways you can expedite the process of restoration in your recovery from depression and addiction. The act of keeping a ‘clean slate’ is extremely helpful and will make it easier for you to not become so easily overwhelmed by your circumstances. As someone comes to your mind who you may have an offense against, or who may have an offense against you—attempt to release the anxiety you associate with that person or the event they were involved with. By eliminating all thoughts of ill will and hatred from your heart and mind, you will not feel as annoyed and irritable. Sleep will come easier and you will experience less tension and anger.
Something that may seem awkward for you to imagine at first, would be the thought of actually doing something thoughtful for a person who has been a source of pain and bitterness in the past. By reaching out to someone who may not deserve it in your mind, you will make yourself feel better—whether their reception is positive or negative.
An act of kindness toward someone who may be undeserving can actually neutralize the level of emotional stress as it relates to that person—on your end and theirs. You may not receive any kind of outward recognition, but the knowledge that you made the effort will feed your own sense of well-being and will cause an improvement for you.
Doing nothing to work toward resolution or restoration generally leads to more alienation and misunderstanding. Making any kind of a positive move requires humility and courage.
Human nature tells us to retreat and ‘let the other person make the first move’. But, scripture encourages us to do the opposite. Romans chapter 12 exhorts that love must be sincere. It tells us to hate what is evil and cling to what is good.
We are further encouraged to be devoted to one another in love, and honor each other above ourselves. We are told not to lack in zeal, but to keep our spiritual fervor in serving the Lord. We are to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. We are reminded to share with the Lord’s people who are in need and to practice hospitality.
The chapter goes on to say that we are to bless those who persecute us and not curse them. We are to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. It is recommended that we live in harmony with one another. We are told not to be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position and not be conceited.
In closing, we are commanded not to repay anyone with evil—even though they may have done evil to us. We must be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. As much as possible, we are told to live at peace with everyone and not take revenge. We are to leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Instead of seeking revenge, we are told to feed our enemy if he is hungry. If he is thirsty, we are to give him something to drink. In doing this, we will heap burning coals on his head.
In a nutshell, we are not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. This whole philosophy is an example of how ‘upside down’ human nature is, compared to the spiritual.
You might believe that it’s beyond the realm of possibility in your case, but I would challenge you to attempt it. Ask God to give you an idea and the opportunity to try it out. Think of it as an experiment. All you need is some humility and a little courage.
The reason for restoration is not only so other people will feel better—it’s so that you will feel better, too. Your pride will often keep you from doing anything creative to work toward resolution. Prideful thoughts will give you the impression that any effort you make will be the same as admitting fault. Try not to think about that. How you may appear is not as important as your own peace of mind and wholeness. Think of your reason for making some kind of move as though it is for your own benefit, and maybe it will be easier for you.
If it’s still too difficult—imagine you’re doing your act of kindness for someone else, not the person you have been offended by. Imagine it’s someone you really like and enjoy doing nice things for. Do your best. Put your heart and soul into it. You will be surprised at the results as you push past your feelings of reluctance.
Declaration: I will find new strength by having the humility and courage to work toward restoration with those who have offended me and those who may have been offended by me. I will heed the words and encouragement of scripture, knowing I will receive the boldness to follow through, if I am willing to initiate.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.