“I always thought that peace was possible when there was an absence of chaos. Now I’m realizing that the antithesis of peace isn’t chaos. It’s selfishness. Mine and theirs. Self-care is good. Self-centeredness is not.”- Lysa TerKeurst
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”- Romans 12:19-21 (ESV)
Lysa TerKeurst concludes Chapter 13 of Forgiving What You Can’t Forget as she counsels against allowing circumstances and complicated people to kidnap your peace. Because that stance not only hurts you, but everyone with whom you interact. Therefore, Lysa cautions, the stain of bitterness extends beyond your fingertips. As a result, it leaks out onto every person you touch. Hence, Hebrews 12:15 exhorts — “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God, and that no bitter root comes up to cause trouble and defile many.”
Certainly, this teaching in Hebrews 12 often feels challenging. But it’s also eye-opening as well as empowering. Furthermore, living in the comforts of peace trumps living in the constraints of unforgiveness. In addition, the constricting force of resentment erects a barrier that prevents you from letting go of the pain inflicted on you. Thus, in that process you resurrect constant reminders of the hurtful person or event. In turn, that causes a pain as intense as the day it happened.
Finally, Lysa extends this concept:
“Not forgiving someone isn’t teaching the other person a lesson, nor is it protecting you in any way. It’s ratcheting the already too tight belt tighter and tighter with each remembrance. Undealt with pain and a mind at peace cannot coexist. And if we have any chance of living at peace with others, we’ve got to first live at peace within ourselves.”
Today’s question: Do you see the antithesis of peace as selfishness rather than chaos? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Forgiveness filled with hesitation and resistance”