actions · Bible · christian · Christian Devotion · faith · peace · purpose · Spirit · worry

When You’re Hated . . .

It’s not a good feeling to be hated or even disliked. Often, you can’t even clearly identify the source of another person’s resentment. In other cases, you might know the source, but the hatred is a misunderstanding or genuine mistake. Have you ever been there? For the sake of peace, you’ve tried to extend an olive branch, but in return you’ve received an unforgiving response, anger, bitterness, or even denial of the issue. If we’re not careful, those few people who actually despise us can play tricks on us. We can spend too much valuable time pondering the source of their hatred, getting angry or staying bewildered instead of focusing on productive and fruit bearing endeavors. In a nutshell, being hated or disliked can either give us fuel to go higher or permanently ground us. It’s up to us.

As we all know, we can’t change anyone. God can change hearts if the person allows Him to; otherwise, we only have the power to change ourselves. We can decide that our bad feelings about being hated on will not dictate our actions, words, and deeds. We can choose to focus on all that’s good, positive and productive. It’s so easy to spend a lot of time worrying about the people who don’t like us, but it’s a spiritually dead plight. It won’t get us anywhere. However, as mature Christians, we can simply let negative emotions, actions, and words go.
I’ve realized that some of the most painful emotions come from unmet expectations. When we expect a certain outcome for whatever the reason and relationship and we are let down, feelings of hurt, anger, and rejection can follow. These feelings can lead to bitterness if we don’t cut them down at the root. Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations from others. They are not equipped or unwilling to give us what we may feel we need or want. We have to know that it’s okay. God, in His infinite grace and kindness, always provides an avenue for us to have our needs and wants met. We cannot force a loving response from someone who is in an ungodly place, for whatever reason. Trusting that God will supply all of our needs is paramount.

Jesus says in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” Of course, we know that religious leaders felt threatened by Jesus because He was making their religion useless, unfruitful, and ineffective. Jesus tells us that, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake.” When we are doing His will and we are hated for it, the kingdom of heaven is ours. God’s righteousness reigns supreme in heaven, and we must set that as our goal, not why someone doesn’t like us. When we live right and for God, we will be disliked and hated by some.

It’s critical for us to examine ourselves to make sure that our actions, words and deeds are Christ-like. It’s not always someone else’s issue. Sometimes it’s us. The only way that we can see ourselves clearly is by reading the Word and praying. God will show us ourselves much better than any mirror can. If we refuse to take a good look at our own actions, words and deeds, we can have “haters” who might have some legitimacy to their feelings. Many times others can see us better than we can see ourselves.

On the other hand, when we are confident that we are not at fault in any way, we can rest assured, knowing that if God is allowing it, He will use that hatred, dislike, bitterness and resentment meant to destroy us for our good. When others see us withstand the enemy’s darts without hating back, we win.

One final word to those who refuse to let go of negative feelings towards another person. Negative energy destroys you more than the person who is the object of your hate or dislike. Ask God to help heal you from the hurt, jealousy, or resentment today. People who are angry with other people, whether justified or not, hold on to offenses and live in bondage. Choose to live in the freedom of Christ’s love.

“ . . . let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Yours in Christ,

MaRita

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Bible · Calm · christian · Christian Devotion · faith · peace · purpose · Spirit · Uncategorized · worry

Desperately Seeking a Pure Heart

If you’ve ever said the right things but felt the wrong things . . .
If you’ve ever done the right things but complained . . .
If you’ve struggled with jealousy, envy, hate, negativity, anger, and resentment, disappointment and know that it’s time for a change . . .

This is for you. This is for me. This is for those of us who understand that a heart check-up is vital for growth, life, peace, and joy. This is for those of us who are brave enough to stop examining, criticizing and complaining about others, and will dare to look in the mirror.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 lets us know that “[t]he heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.’” No person is exempt from heart failure. We are human, and we are prone to having a bad heart, from time to time, especially without the proper checks and balances. Just like eating the wrong foods and lack of exercise negatively impacts the physical heart, complaining, negative thoughts, words deeds, and company affects the condition of the heart.

The heart is the center of our thoughts and emotions. It’s our real character. It’s who we really are. Sometimes this doesn’t exactly line up with who we think we are or what we do and say. People can do the right things for all the wrong reasons.

We have the choice to embrace thoughts and emotions when they are inline with God’s Word or reject them if they’re not. However, too often, we excuse ourselves and others by saying, “That’s just the way I am.” We don’t take the authority God has given us to work on negative heart issues because it requires accountability, change, and work.

There are some steps that we can take if we truly want to have and keep our hearts pure:

1. Know that God’s sees our hidden motives.
“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).
Understand that people may not always identify between an impure or a pure heart, but God knows. If our aim is to please Him, we understand that He knows every single thing about us. There is nothing hidden.

2. Ask God to create a pure heart in you.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
We must humble ourselves and ask God to show us ourselves. If we have erred, we need to repent and ask him to renew His Spirit in us. Being totally submitted to Him allows His Spirit to reside in us, strengthening us to overcome our fleshly desires and feelings.

3. Guard your heart.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
It sounds so easy, but it can be tough. We have to be watchful of our thoughts when we’re talking to people, watching television or perusing social media. We have to be sure that our actions, words and deeds are matching up with our hearts—and that our hearts are pure. Any person, place, or thing that jeopardizes the condition of our heart must be examined and if possible, avoided until we have strengthened ourselves through the Holy Spirit’s power to overcome the negative impact.

4. You will live a blessed life if you make the decision to have and keep a pure heart.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8).
We have a promise in His Word that guarantees our eternal life with God when we keep our hearts pure. Living honestly, without backbiting, gossiping, envying, and deceiving others is freeing. We can move in and out of all types of situations, good and bad, knowing that we have done and said the right thing when we have a pure heart.

A pure heart is loving, kind, transparent, and real. You know it when you encounter one. You feel it when you have one. You feel it when you don’t. You know when others have it. Yep, you know when they don’t. When we focus on improving ourselves from the inside out, we are inspiring others, bearing fruit, and making positive change.

Blessings and love,
MaRita