The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both. Wrath is cruel" (Proverbs 27:3-4).
Lingering resentment and bitterness is cruel to whoever may be on its receiving end. However, as we mentioned in yesterday's message, Mark Twain vividly portrayed an even more unfortunate victim:
"Anger is an acid that eats away at the container in which it is stored more than the object on which it is poured."
The Apostle Paul confirms Twain's axiom by calling born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to not become the damaged vessel of stored anger: "Be ye angry, and sin not" (Ephesians 4:26).
How does the born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ obey this command? Certainly, the leading and enabling of the Holy Spirit provides the power to overcome the inclinations of our flesh to hang on to resentment. We therefore trust and submit to Him when thoughts and feelings of bitterness tempt us. He will lead us not to simply decide to not be angry, but rather to replace animosity with "the thoughts of the righteous" (Proverbs 12:5). That is, when tempted to mentally and emotionally harbor grievances, we remember the character of Christ that dwells within us through the Holy Spirit. Our heart thereby becomes a mooring not for indulging bitter notions, but for sending forth prayers led by wind of the Spirit of Christ.
"Love your enemies. Bless them that curse you. Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you" (Matthew 5:44).
What God does in the hearts and lives of those who have offended us when we pray for them may never in this life be known to us. However, we will know what He does in our hearts. We will increasingly sail upon still waters of peace rather than turbulent waves of seething anger. Indeed, the Lord Jesus prayed for God to forgive His enemies while hanging on His cross so that He might dwell within our hearts to enable the same tranquility fostered by His mercy. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). Yes, we replace fleshly and devilish pique with peace, the peace of Christ known as we send forth prayers of blessing rather than harbor resentments of bitterness.
"When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son."
"Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Weekly Memory Verse
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.