Thursday, January 4, 2024
Mental Rent Free Living Not For Us
Mental Rent Free Living Not For Us
by David Brenneman
"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:44-46.
A very good sign that you're struggling with forgiving others is when you're preoccupied with them in your heart and mind. Some refer to this as living rent free in your head.
We are indeed to learn from encounters with others, and to balance that with knowing them by their fruits, but we are to always forgive them.
"For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions." Matthew 6:14-15.
We are often filled with attempts at creating exceptions to the rules. Trying to justify our stance before ourselves and before God.
Lest we forget...Jesus, at the Great Commission, said what? "Go, therefore and make disciples, teaching them all that I have commanded you.".
So many people are in self created mental prisons because they refuse to forgive as Christ forgave them. So many people do not let go of the past. So many are living in bitterness because of not doing what Jesus said to be doing. They've lived with it for so long that they don't even see the bitterness themselves.
As all our troubles in this world are as a result of the original sin of Adam and Eve, and with it came broken relationships, we are all going to have relationship issues.
The only perfect relationship that we will ever see is when Believers are with Jesus.
There will be no misunderstandings.
There will be no need for therapy or help in areas of anything with Jesus when people are with Him face-to-face.
In this life, however, His guidelines are His commands. We have a mission in His plans for us to accomplish. We can and will be easily distracted from that plan and purpose. Both our sin nature, which is at its root selfish, and the enemy of God do not want us successful at the righteous life that God desires for us.
As many have taken to saying about our sin nature and the new nature in Christ Jesus, whichever we feed, that's the one who grows within each of us.
The Scriptures teach us to be dead to the sin nature. To put on Christ Jesus. It's impossible to put on both and not have troubles.
Comedians, actors and actresses, have shown the ludicrous results of situations where people wear several layers of clothing and try to function normally.
Forgiveness is a command. It matters not what our feelings are on the matter. When we aren't forgiving, it means we aren't trusting God with what's necessary and needed in our lives and the offending party.
So many people live with layers of bitterness towards others and do not realize it. Yes, they might have hurt you, but the command from Jesus is firm.
People crucified Him and He forgave them.
"And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:33-34.
There's nothing harsher than being crucified for the sins of all humanity and yet Jesus forgave them.
We cannot live the righteous life that God desires for us if we harbor a lack of forgiveness in our hearts.
This isn't to say we forget what caused the need to forgive. We indeed must know people by their fruits. So many want to couple judging others with justifying their own behavior. They won't forgive or forget anything and the result is more bitterness.
Being right before Jesus is far more important than being right before ourselves.
As one of my favorite shirts says "I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God".
There's tremendous freedom in true forgiveness. It's so freeing that to describe it doesn't do it justice.
We don't need to carry around imaginary conversations that have never taken place. Never have to have mental arguments that never happened with these offending people.
Forgiveness releases bitterness. Leave the work of doling out justice to the Righteous Judge. It's not our place to do His job.
You who are Believer's...don't you remember or realize that when all that went down to cause you to react how you did and they did...that Jesus was right there too? That, as the Bible says, He searches the hearts of mankind for every thought and intention? He knows what the truth is.
Truth is we are to represent Jesus.
It's indeed something to be learned, forgiveness. Because the Disciples had to be taught, we need to be taught.
You do not know how far your forgiveness will go in bringing others to Christ for salvation. Isn't that beyond more important than whatever the perceived problem is?
Forgive as you have been forgiven by Jesus. Don't you want His full forgiveness for yourself? Don't you want others to receive the same?
Start eviction steps for the people who have taken up residence in your heart and mind. Forgiveness is the first step. Forgive and show those mental apparitions the door. Keep your eyes on Jesus and ask Him to deal with the people in your life as He sees fit. Jesus is the Author and the Perfector of our faith.
You're only going to be spinning your wheels in mudd until you learn to forgive.
Bitterness robs so many people of so much.
All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.