What lies beneath

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This morning as I sat with the Lord and read from Oswald Chambers “My Utmost for His Highest”, I was again struck by how God brings to our minds, and to our hearts, the very issues that we might be struggling with.

Confession time: I struggle sometimes with envy, bitterness and resentment.

Yes. Yes, I do. I don’t want to. But I do. It feels ugly. It makes me feel immature as a Christian because I know that those things are not things that should be part of who I am as a new creature in Christ.

Once again, Oswald spoke truth right into the spot where I needed to hear it. Oswald spells it out plainly: those thoughts and emotions belong to the “carnal nature” , which in my vocabulary equates to the “flesh” or the “soul”.

I struggle because I know they are not right, yet they exist there. I don’t want them there. But how do I rid myself of these ugly blotches of sin?!? I know that as a new creation in Christ, that my spirit is shiny, holy and righteous. But still, why these blotches on my soul?

Oswald says that it is not up to us to try to make it right ourselves. We cannot! But instead, we are to confess it instantly and “stand completely open before God”. So my job is to confess any sin that I am made aware of (in this case, envy, resentment and bitterness) and God’s job is to deal with it. If I try to vindicate myself, I am not walking as a child of the light.

“The proof that things have been dealt with is in having us face the same situation again and realize that you are able to say, ‘If this had happened before, I would have felt resentment!’  Then you will see that you have been changed, and you will be amazed at what God does for you.”

So, I sat with Jesus and I confessed my feelings. And he gently reminded me that underneath those feelings lies hurt. That is the basis for those uglier feelings. So I pictured giving Jesus my hurt, my tears. And I asked him to heal those sore spots so that I could be rid of the other (uglier) feelings that pop up in certain situations.

It was then that I was reading in Isaiah 53 and this verse jumped out at me:

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows….     the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Jesus not only took our sins when he went to the cross, but our sorrows too! I had never really noticed this before. Our sorrows. He carried our sorrows to Calvary.  And the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

I believe that Jesus is saying that he wants to take those things from our past, or our present, that cause us sorrow. If we look beyond the initial feelings of anger, rage, malice, resentment, jealousy or whatever it is, we may find sorrow from hurt beneath those emotions. Because he died on the cross, he carried those sorrows, those hurts so that we can be healed from those inner wounds.

Truth be told, I will only know if I am free from those hurts or sorrows the next time I face a similar situation. In that case I can see whether or not I still need to let go of more, or whether truly, Jesus has completely healed me and freed me. It may mean more confession. It may mean forgiving someone who has injured me. It may mean more of sitting with Jesus and handing Him everything that I need to. I think that as long as we feel those emotions, we need to come before God and confess.

That is our job, remember? His job is to heal us and set us free.

I look forward to the day when I will be able to search my heart and find no trace of resentment or bitterness or envy. Until then, I’m going to keep doing what Jesus asks of me: give it to Him.

Jesus, once again I thank you for your great sacrifice. You are able to carry everything that we hand to you: our hurts, all of our feelings and emotions.  Thank you for your grace. I pray for those today who need to give something to you. Whether it be similar feelings to what I shared, or whether it be other emotions that mask the underlying reality of hurt, would you please enable them to let go… and let You deal with them. Help us to do our job, and allow You to do yours. You are the healer, of all wounds. Thank you!