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Focus: Bitterness and prayer
Matthew 5:44-45a (NKJV) But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven…
When someone has deeply offended you, or when you live in an offensive relationship—finding relief from words or actions that caused the pain can be hard. If the battle is ongoing, you may barely have time to catch your breath before you’re faced with another reason to be bitter…
If it was just once, it would be bad enough—but our minds have that awful tendency to instantly ‘replay’ hurtful moments over and over. You wish there was a way to just hit the ‘stop’ button—you can’t help feeling like you’re trapped.
In the act of replaying an event in your mind, you imagine things you might have done or said—if you had the chance to. Every time you replay the scene—the feelings all come flooding back. The more painful the episode, the more times you seem to play it back. You don’t really mean to keep going back there, but you do.
Re-examining a hurtful experience is one of our mind’s ways of processing the information. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing, if it doesn’t get out of control…but if you’re allowing yourself to be obsessed by it, then it is a bad thing.
Nobody wants to think they’re obsessed with anything—but you might want to think about how much time you spend a day ‘out there in video land’, replaying events in your mind that you can’t relive in reality. A painful experience has a way of always being in the back of your mind. If there’s something else going on—you might be able to be ‘present’ in the moment—but as soon as things slow down and you have some free time, there it is again. It’s something you ‘work on’, when there isn’t anything else to take your attention.
If the event was a long time ago—you might have clocked hours, days, maybe even weeks of your life—as you’ve replayed it over and over. If the situation is current and ongoing—your preoccupation could be pretty much ‘where you live’…as every free moment is spent rehashing the latest chapter of the saga.
You might not think of this kind of replaying as an addiction—but it is. If it’s something you ‘pick up’ each day where you left off the day before…it’s ‘your dwelling place’. If it takes up more of your time than prayer—you may not want to hear this, but it’s an idol. If an obsession with painful events or a person who was involved in them has caused your thoughts to become out of control, it’s time for change.
You may feel like your hands are tied and you have no choice, but you do. God is bigger than any problem you or I have. He wants you to be free from emotional addictions, just as much as He wants every person to be free from physical addictions. The process for healing begins the same way—by admitting you have a problem. Until you can honestly say a problem exists—you won’t get over it.
It’s easy to look at other people’s problems and know exactly what they should do to find the help they need—it’s a lot harder when the problem is our own. We spend so much time going over the wrong things people have done to us—all the while not giving a thought as to how wrong it is for us to be replaying that person’s actions and words in our imagination.
There is nowhere in the Bible where we are told to meditate day and night on the wrong things people have done to us, is there? But if the pain was deep—that’s usually what we do, isn’t it?
In order to recover from an emotional addiction that involves our imagination—we need to call to mind what the Word of God says about our situation. 2 Corinthians 10:5-6 says, (NAS) …casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be made full.
It’s humbling to have to realize that the time we spend in our vain imagination is disobedience—but it is. The way to avenge it, is to make the decision to stop ’living there’ in your mind and become obedient by taking your thoughts captive. The ultimate revenge and act of obedience would be to spend the time we’ve been spending replaying—praying, instead.
Declaration: I will find new strength by taking my thought life more seriously. I commit to praying instead of replaying. When I find myself caught up in my imagination—reliving painful events–I will pray a blessing on the one who hurt me because I am Your child—and it’s what You would want me to do.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.