” . . . when a person discovers he has heart disease, his overriding concern isn’t how he got it, where it came from, or whose fault it is that he has it. His number one concern is, ‘How do I fix it?’ We should be driven by a similar concern when it comes to the anger that pollutes our hearts. Blaming won’t make us better. Holding out for an apology won’t either. The cure is forgiveness.”- Andy Stanley
Andy Stanley concludes Chapter 14 of Enemies of the Heart with the third and fourth processes in the cycle of forgiveness.
3. Cancel the debt. This may occur via a decision you make quietly in your own heart. Or you may choose to mark your decision with something more tangible. For example, put a list of debts in an envelope and burn it or nail it to a cross. Finally, unless someone asks you for forgiveness or returns to apologize, this transaction takes place between you and God.
4. Dismiss the case. This final process, Pastor Stanley states, focuses on a daily decision not to reopen the case. However, it’s not unusual, after granting forgiveness, for something to happen that triggers memories of the offense. At this juncture, Andy notes, one of two things happens. Thus, we either:
- again take hold of the offense, start imaginary conversations, and reopen the case
- try to suppress the thought and turn our attention to something else
Neither response, the author cautions, is appropriate or helpful. Rather, center your thoughts on the truth that, as an act of your will, you canceled the debt. While feelings come and go, the decision remains. As a result, you’ll respond to the offender in the light of where he/she stands in relationship to Christ. Not how that person treated you.
Today’s question: What Scriptures, Christian songs, or hymns help you with the anger that pollutes your heart? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “A supersized sense of ownership”