I’m Dying

This past week I’ve really tried to ignore it, or hoping it would go away. But the stark reality is if I want to continue to press on in my relationship with Jesus, I must die…to self.
Someone really blasted me this past week, it was really directed towards my husband, Jeff, but I got the first blow. Pent up frustration that had unrealistic expectations finally erupted… all over me!
If you are anything like me, someone can “dis” me, but “dis” my husband, my kids or grandkids—well, that’s a different story. As a wife and mom I am pretty protective of my family. Yeah, I know the bible verses about not taking up an offense for someone else; so don’t send me any emails telling me what I need to do! That is the whole point of trying to work this all out this past week. I KNOW what I’m supposed to do.
I have a right to be offended, to have a “how dare they” opinion. I can sulk, be depressed and have a bad attitude. I have feelings too. Right? I say, Right? Especially, where there has been no apology for their actions and attitudes.
This is where the dying to self-part comes in.
Truth be told, no I don’t have the right to be offended, have a bad attitude and hold this against another. The Bible in 1Corinthians chapter 13 talks all about that. In fact I have that verse hanging on my living room wall (thanks to a dear friend). I normally enjoy looking at the sign. It really is quite lovely. However, this past week, I try ignoring that sign every time I walked into the living room. It was like that verse was haunting me, “hey, read me; this is what you’re suppose to be doing.”
One morning as I was reading in my quiet time. Yeah, try that with all these attitudes, feelings and thoughts going on in the heart and brain! I began to have this conversation with the Lord that went something like this: “Lord, I don’t know how you stood before your accusers and said nothing. I’m not like you Lord, I just can’t forgive like you.”
I have Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God Devotional and wouldn’t you know it the devotional for that day was….drumroll—Forgiveness! Yup, it was. Oh my! Think the Lord was answering me? Yes, He was. I sat and pondered what I had read and what I know to be true. I’ve taught, spoken on being in a prison of unforgiveness, wrong attitudes, etc., etc.! I did not want to be held hostage to my own selfish self.
Jeff, my husband, has been preparing for Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday services. He says to me, “ hey, I want to watch this video and tell me what you think.” The video is entitled, The Sounds of the Cross. As I sat there and watched with tears streaming down my face, unable to speak when Jeff asks me, “what do you think—should I show it?” The reality of what Christ did for ME, how he forgave ME, how he went to the cross for ME; could I do any less?
I was also reminded of the parable Jesus taught in the book of Matthew chapter 18. Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! Then Jesus tells a story about a man who had been forgiven a huge debt. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘you evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. Jesus said, “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
I have chosen to forgive this person, even without any apology. Not my responsibility if they don’t see how hurt or offended I was or the need to apologize. I have to let it go and allow the Lord to deal with it all.
Dying to self… that’s what I’ve done this past week. This is good news and bad news. Why? Because I know it won’t be the last time I will have to die to self. The Apostle Paul says, we are to die to self daily. Some days are easier than others! It is a choice that has to be made daily.
Thanks for letting me share my heart, be real and authentic here. The struggles are real. It is how we handle them that count. I have learned that My God is bigger than any struggle I may have. He will help me and He loves me enough not to let me stay in any prison. He has the keys to let me out.
He loves you too! If you are having the same kind of struggle, take it from me as hard as it seems to die to our own selfish ways, just look to the cross. Hear the sounds of the cross? The agony Jesus bore as he was being beaten; the pounding of the nails in his hands and feet. His crying out to God… IT IS FINISHED.
He did that for you and me, my sweet friend. Since Jesus died for us, surely, we can die to ourselves and live for HIM as He intended us to live.