Grace or Bitterness?

by Sheri Schofield

The horses in the pasture near our home have been living out a little drama lately. We’re now watching Episode 2. There is a pecking order among horses, and in this case, the mare was the lead horse. She allowed only the bay gelding to stand next to her and swat flies from her nose with his tail, but totally shunned the new horse, a palomino gelding that has learned to stand alone. I call the mare Queenie.

Now, however, the bay horse is missing from the pasture, and only the shunned palomino is left. There is no other horse to swat the flies from Queenie’s nose. So she is trying to cozy up to the only other horse in the pasture. But the golden gelding is not having anything to do with her. He’s not dumb. He knows she just wants him to swat flies! But Queenie keeps trying.

We see the same patterns in human behavior, even among some Christians. A prominent person will often give most of his or her attention to a select group of people but ignore others. Until he needs something from them. Suddenly, the leader will turn the sunshine of his favor upon the one he wants to use. After that person has done what the leader wants, the leader will go back to his own circle of friends and ignore the outsider.

I have had this happen to me a few times. It hurts. My skills are strong in the creative realm—painting, music, writing. Years ago, a dominant person from church hired me to paint a mural on a 35-foot wall in her new business. Afterward, she said she didn’t have the money to pay me. She ended up giving me a very small amount for the mural. The mural drew many customers to her business. But she excluded me socially afterward.

I could have been like the golden palomino and ignored her. But I chose to let it go and to be kind anyway. There is no point in harboring resentment. It will only poison my own soul and bring bitterness into the body of Christ.

The Apostle Paul warned against harboring resentment. He wrote, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15 NIV).

My role in the church is to love others, bear with their weaknesses, as Christ bears my weaknesses, and show Christ to them. It isn’t always easy! My human nature would like to cherish the blame against those who hurt me. But as I keep turning my back on resentment and turning my face toward Jesus, I grow in grace and in the knowledge of my Savior.

When I see how certain behavior causes harm, my goal is to watch how I treat others in my own relationships and not let myself indulge in similar actions. In this way, I can help others see through me to Jesus. It is a continual learning process.

I am thankful the Holy Spirit has overlooked the many times I have failed in this! I’m glad the Lord is not finished with me yet. While I am learning, I ask the Lord to guard my heart against bitterness, and to keep me from living according to my selfish desires. I’m a work in progress. Nobody ever said the Christian life would be easy!

You my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13 NIV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

FREE CHILDREN’S PROGRAM! Author/Children’s Bible teacher, Sheri Schofield, offers a free series of video lessons about Jesus and His salvation—for children ages 4 and up. It is available at her website www.sherischofield.com. In this video series, Walk-The-Talk Island, Sheri presents her award-winning book The Prince and the Plan, in 24 video lessons for your children, grandchildren and any others with whom you wish to share. In addition, Campfire provides devotions for children.

Join the Conversation: How do you respond to hurt?

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4 thoughts on “Grace or Bitterness?

  1. Great message, Sheri. Sometimes letting go and forgiving has to be done multiple times, even with the same episode. I know I have to remember to forgive and let go every time the hurt or angry feelings rise.

    Like

  2. Thank you Sheri. So easy to get stuck in the wrong done. Thank you for the reminder. I can’t wait to read Episode 3!
    ❤️Shirley Mozena

    Like

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