“When Haman saw that Mordecai was not bowing or paying homage to him, he was filled with rage” Esther 3:5.
I just love beginning new Bible Studies with all of its richness, history and application. I always pray before I choose another Bible Study since I know that God has certain spiritual lessons He wishes to share with me. More times than not, He will lead me into the same study for a second time. The study of the Book of Esther is a time such as this. I went through this study during my sister’s illness and remembered enjoying it, but at best it was a story of a courageous woman. Today as I begin the study again I am blown away that I failed to see one of the overriding themes of this story – a heart of bitterness that carried a deadly grudge. Haman, the king’s highest ranked official at the time, was responsible for putting into place the edict to destroy God’s people…all because of his bitterness towards an earlier generation who murdered his family. It was something that was in the past, but was propelling his heart into judgment and entitlement in the present. Haman was being led by bitterness over something that was no longer active.
I use the word ‘active’ because it has a very special meaning in my heart. There was a time when I held much bitterness over the way a family member had treated me and others in my family. It was a tough time for us all and very poor decisions were made by some which wounded my heart and left me with lots of anger. One day, as determined by God, the season ended rather abruptly and life resumed to normal for me with one exception…my heart was feasting on emotional leftovers…bitterness and judgmental thoughts and words. One day Bruce finally looked at me and stated, ‘Brenda, it is no longer active!’ These words gave me the freedom I had been looking for in my forgiveness for this person. Don’t get me wrong. Working through these emotions and judgmental views of this person was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But God will always require the tough work when there is unforgiveness in our heart. If we are still spouting off the things that are no longer active we have handed over a stronghold to Satan. The words of Jesus resonate in my heart this morning in considering the heart of hardness that I once possessed for this person. ‘You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks…But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned’ Matthew 12:34-37.
One day I will have to answer for the season when my heart was hard and my words were condemning. It didn't matter whether my feelings were justified or not. Our forgiveness is not based on justification, it is based on our obedience to God. Strongholds are areas where daily work must be completed for they are the areas where Satan has the most control over our lives. God has shown me over and over again, there is no room for bitterness regardless of what was done. Bitterness in any form builds a barrier between our heart and the heart of God. It is God’s job to judge and our duty to love.
What is no longer active in your life that you are feeding on its emotional leftovers?
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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