NEW COLLECTION: A HOPE-FILLED YEAR
Biblical hope is the confident and joyful expectation of good.
And it is rooted in our trust in a loving Heavenly Father.
If we are to find a position of rest in a stress-filled world, we have to develop hope (see previous posts).
A common hindrance to that development is disappointment. When people let us down, when we ourselves fall short, when things do not turn out as we expect, the resulting disappointment can cripple us for life. It is so important we take steps to deal with this issue.
Extending forgiveness to people who have let us down is vital, in fact it's a non-negotiable command, [Matthew 21:18-25]. Equally, we need to be released from our failures, by taking them to the cross, a topic more fully explored in Missing the Mark.
Sometimes, however, the source of our sense of disappointment is not with other people, or with ourselves. Sometimes it is God who we feel has let us down...
Bill Johnson has some really important things to say regarding this. Please take time to listen...
GOODBYE TO SELF-PITY
And then there’s the destructiveness of self-pity…
We have all experienced situations which have hurt and disappointed us, and been wounded by people who fall short of our expectations. We have all felt discouraged at times by our own mistakes and failures, and often carry past wounds which periodically still swamp us. This is life—the result of living in a fallen world.
Unfortunately our reactions to the stuff of life often results in self-pity; and how easy it is to tell our story to others to elicit their outrage or sympathy. And so this unchecked self-pity leads to a perception of ourselves as victims, which in turn negatively feeds our sense of identity, leading to depression or even despair. Self-pity is the thief of hope.
To be free we have to lay down our ‘right’ to a pity-party. This is not always easy.
STEPS TO FREEDOM
1.) When someone sins against us, there is a debt involved—they owe us. Unforgiveness holds on to that debt and insists they ‘pay’, either in reparation or in punishment. The Greek word for ‘forgiveness’ in the New Testament, has the meaning of ‘sending away’ or ‘giving up a debt’. We need to forgive the people involved and release them from their ‘debt’. (We know we have done this when we can pray for the Lord's blessing on the people concerned.) See The Rhythm Of Community for a PDF help-sheet on exercising the grace of forgiveness.
I appreciate there are those who have suffered grievous injury and trauma, and need help from an experienced Spirit-filled counsellor. If that is you, please seek help.
2.) We then need to ask the Lord to release His healing power into the situation, and to heal our wounds.
3.) Choose to believe that ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose’ [Romans 8:28]. The Evil One comes to destroy, but God can take those negative circumstances, and pour His life and redemption into them. Start to thank Him for working this particular situation for your good.
If you don’t deal with self-pity when it arises, victimhood becomes part of your identity. Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’ Likewise, nothing can give you a victim-identity unless you let it.
We can live permanently in reaction, or we can be people who take action, people who refuse to feel sorry for themselves, who refuse a victim mentality, and refuse to look for sympathy or outrage in others. People who resolve to live free.
PASS IT ON...
[Photo credits: Nathan Dumla (burst balloon); Dmitry Ratushny (hole-in-wall); @ Unsplash, with thanks]
Da Kraplak (type writer);
Merakist (social media)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
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