Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cuts

Resentments. Don't have any big ones. But lately the Lord has been revealing to me that I may have a thousand little ones.

With a men's group I've been going through the workbook "Twelve Steps - A Spiritual Journey." There is a section in that book that states "Resentment is an underlying cause of many forms of spiritual disease. our mental and physical ills are frequently the direct result of this unhealthy condition. No doubt others have harmed us, and we have a legitimate right to feel resentful. However, resentment doesn't punish anyone but ourselves. We can't hold resentments and find healing at the same time. It's best released by asking God for the strength to forgive the offender. Learning to deal with resentment in a healthy way is an important part of our recovery process." As I reflected on that statement, I was satisfied that I am not harboring any big resentments at this stage in my life. But I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me, "Little ones count too."

When we resent we may be feeling injured, violated, left out, angry or bitter. The ministry is filled with opportunities for these feelings to arise. Remember how Jesus asked us to "take up a cross" and follow Him? Yup. It's going to be painful. Remember how Paul spoke of "the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings"? Uh-huh. Some of us have the wounds to show for it.

In Iran they still do stonings for political dissidents and criminals. They bury the person so that only their shoulders, neck and head are above the ground. Then the government provides special-sized rocks for the public to throw. Not just any rock will do. If the rock is too big, it could kill the person immediately and ruin the stoning. If the rock were too small, it might not inflict sufficient damage and pain. I never really thought before about the art of stoning someone, but it makes sense when you think about it.

Sometimes ministry can feel like death by a thousand cuts. You might think back over the criticisms, the departures, the disappointments and find that they were just the right size. Not big enough to kill you. Not small enough to shrug off. The perfect size to cause you maximum pain short of death. Go ahead and feel it. Then let it go.

1 comment:

John, Jessica, Will, Clay and Joe said...

Dave,

I am new to your blog and eager to hear more of your thoughts. I attended a Deliberate Simplicity day workshop about 3 years ago while on staff at a megachurch here in E. Wash. At the time, I found myself drawn to what you were saying -- I hope to raise rabbits and not elephants. May God give you wisdom and endurance as you lead, as well as the grace to release the little resentments.

John