Just have to share with you all something that God has done in my life recently. A few years ago while at a former place of ministry, we experienced a series of changes.
That’s when something started changing in my heart, and it was such a slow, subtle fade that I hardly noticed. But I did notice my stress and anxiety mounting as the atmosphere in our office changed.
My heart slowly began to grow callous towards those responsible for the changes. My joy dwindled. It became very difficult for me to be “present” wherever I went. My mind always seemed to be elsewhere.
As I moved into a new ministry, I hoped that the change of scenery would rid me of all that stress and my joy would return.
Stress decreased, but I continued to feel “never present.” It was as if something was tying me to this former ministry.
Honestly, I thought maybe I was going crazy because these feelings were much worse than what I care to describe here. It was like a cloud of depression that engulfed everything.
Every time someone mentioned the former ministry, I noticed resentment would rise up but didn’t consider that to be such a big deal. Then I went to the beach a few months ago.
The beach has been for years the place I go to seek answers from the Lord. There’s just something about the wind, waves and grilled shrimp, right?
There’s a different question that I present to the Lord on these beach trips. This year I simply asked the Lord, “What’s wrong with me?!”
Loaded question, right?
Someone had given me a copy of Joël Malm’s book Fully You, which is like Christian counseling. I took this book with me to the beach.
Anyway, long story longer: In the book, he talks about forgiveness. He mentions the parable of the unmerciful servant and how he was thrown into jail for not forgiving even though he had been forgiven of much (Matt 18).
Jesus says that’s how God treats us when we don’t forgive others.
Y’all, I had to hit the hotel room floor.
For the first time in almost three years, I realized that I resented people for what they did in my former place of ministry.
This root of unforgiveness grew. I slowly built a prison for these people. and I was the one who lived in it — for almost three years!
After I honestly admitted this to God and forgave these folks, I was set free! It’s hard to describe. It was almost an immediate change!
The best way I can put it is that I was released from prison. My joy returned, the cloud lifted and now I’m present wherever I go! This is one lesson I’ll not soon forget.
Isaiah 26:3-4 was another key passage in this realization.
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal
I asked God, “What moved my mind? Why do I feel this way?” It all went back to the root of unforgiveness. It had taken my mind from being steadfast to questioning everything, unsure of almost anything. Never has unforgiveness been such a condemnable offense in my life.
Let me give you a quote from Joël’s book that described my situation: “When we don’t release hurt, it turns into resentment. In both Spanish and French, the word sentir means to feel. When we resent something, we feel that emotion over and over. We relive the event. And resentment can have dire consequences, not only in our souls but in our bodies.”
That was me! I kept repeating conversations and reliving the pain. But not anymore.
I hope you are joy-filled and loving life in the Lord. If you’re not, then search your heart. See if there’s any bitterness or resentment lingering because the Master has forgiven you of so much more than any offense that someone else may have committed against you. Forgive and experience God’s freedom!
Joël Malm will be teaching these Biblical principles on Oct 18th at the SBOM Office Facility in Prattville. For more information or to register, visit ALSBOM.org/whatif. If you’re interested in more information about the book Fully You and to download the first two chapters for free, check it out at http://www.joelmalm.com/fully-you/