ROSE OR THORNS – Handling Offenses by Cathy Bryant

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rose1ROSE OR THORNS – Handling Offenses

by Cathy Bryant, Author of the Miller’s Creek Novels (for Grace & Faith 4 U)

It will happen sooner or later. And it will most likely happen more than once during our lifetimes. At some point we will all be hurt, and sometimes wounded so badly that it feels like there’s just no getting over it.

What makes these gut-wrenching episodes even worse is when our opponent sees us writhing on the ground and comes in for a final kick.

But even as hard as those low blows are, there is something even more difficult we have to deal with, and that’s ourselves. How are we going to respond to the unjust, the hurtful, the downright evil?

 

Cathy Bryant

I can only speak from my perspective, but the human side of me doesn’t want to let it go. Those thorns dig under my flesh, buried beneath layers of soft tissue. And the longer I let those thorns fester, the more calloused and unforgiving I become.

The alternative requires so much from us. It seems unfair to have to make such a choice in light of all we’ve been through. It requires moving past, handing our grievances over to God, and trusting Him to handle it in a much better way than we ever could. It means yanking out those thorns before the hurt grows worse.

But once that’s done (and we may have to remove more thorns we didn’t initially see), we have a pleasant surprise awaiting–the beautiful and fragrant rose of the Lord’s peace and healing.

That’s the sad thing about grudges, isn’t it? As we grasp tightly to those thorns, we’re only hurting ourselves and not the offender. To make matters worse, the sharp barbs cause collateral damage, the prickly points of resentment and bitterness shooting up like weeds, affecting everyone with whom we come in contact.

It’s only as we let go of the thorns that we’re able to once more experience peace, joy, love, gladness . . . and the delight of our fellowship with Christ.

You see, until we’re willing to walk the path of Jesus, to join Him in saying with all sincerity “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing,” our relationship with Him and the Father are stalled. Here’s why.

While we were at our most unlovely, the very enemies of God, Jesus forgave us everything. He took those thorns and sharp barbs so we wouldn’t have to. In light of all He’s done for us, how can we then turn around and demand retribution from our enemies?

Other than prayer, the best way I know of releasing the thorns is to remember this: God will never ask us to forgive others anymore than what He’s already forgiven us.

So let’s leave the thorns behind and reach for the Rose instead.

Love keeps no record of wrongs. -1 Corinthians 13:5

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Cathy loves spinning grace-filled tales about the fictional town of Miller’s Creek, Texas, where folks are friendly, the iced tea sweet, and Mama Beth’s porch beckons. A Bridge Unbroken 3DEach of the Miller’s Creek Novels carry spiritual themes. Home, faith, grace, and promise are the underlying topics of the first four books. The fifth book, A Bridge Unbroken, (scheduled for release Spring 2014) tells the story of a hurting runaway whose plan to start afresh means facing the man most responsible for leaving scars on her heart. To learn more about Cathy and the Miller’s Creek Novels, visit her at www.CatBryant.com and the other site links below.

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8 Comments

  1. Chris Granville

     /  February 26, 2014

    Wonderful article Thank you

    Reply
  2. Beautiful post, Cathy. I’ve actually been ruminating on a post of forgiveness myself. I liked your perspective!
    God bless you.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Jenn. God bless you as well, and thanks for commenting. 🙂 Forgiveness, as central as it is to the gospel, is often tangled up in other issues. In addition, a worldly perspective is tangled up in the knot as well. It’s a concept all believers really need to study and understand.

      Reply
  3. This ministered to me! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful perspective on forgiveness. God bless you!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Lorieen. So glad the post ministered to you. Wish I could take credit for the perspective on forgiveness, but I can’t. Thankfully, God’s Spirit gave the perspective as I sat down to write the post. He deserves all the credit! God bless you and yours as well. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Your message is beautiful, Cathy and can be so personal (if we are willing to admit it!) I am sure we can all recall a time when we felt so hurt that we thought we could never forgive–but being unforgiving creates two victims. The burden for the one holding the grudge is immense. Your analogy of the rose and thorns fits so well. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • You are so right, Katherine. There are two prisoners, though it sometimes seems as if the offender is happy as a lark, though they are held prisoner by our unforgiveness. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

      Reply

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