Recently, a friend of mine really hurt my feelings and I got all bent out of shape. And, honey, everyone in my house knew Mama wasn't happy. I tried everything to usher gentleness back into my tone and my temper.
I quoted verses.
I rebuked Satan.
I bossed my feelings around with truth.
I even tried to take a nap.
But none of these activities soothed me.
What really sent me over the edge though was when one of my people introduced a smell into my home that not even three strongly scented candles could mask. And I am super hyper-sensitive to smells.
Unfortunately, as the mysterious, awful smell continued to waft through my home, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was or where it was coming from.
Finally, I realized my daughter had placed a bathroom trashcan in the middle of my bedroom floor so she could toss scraps of paper as she worked on a school project. Something had obviously been thrown away in that forgotten trashcan that had surpassed gross and moved into the final stages of rot.
Or something had crawled up into that can and died.
I didn't have the heart to find out what the rot was; I just knew the trash can had to go. Immediately.
The smell was an outside indication of an internal situation. And the trashcan wasn't the only thing that stunk that night. So did my attitude.
My reaction was an outside indication of an internal situation.
The reason I couldn't be soothed by quoting scriptures, bossing my feelings, rebuking Satan, or even taking a nap is because God wanted me to be aware of my stink ... something inside of me that was gross ... a place starting to rot.
I'd been hurt by a friend and didn't want to confront the issue or forgive the person who had hurt me. I'd stuffed bitterness in my heart and tried to pretend it wasn't there. But the rot was there and the stink from deep within my heart kept spilling out.
God didn't want me to temporarily mask the situation by feeling better in the moment. He wanted me to address the root of my rot—to see it, admit it, expose it, let Him clean it up, and shut it down. Immediately.
A little rot can spread fast and furiously if not dealt with swiftly and seriously.
That's why it's so crucial to pay attention to our reactions today.
How we react is a crucial gauge of what's really going on inside us.
When people or issues or situations bump into our happy, it's not wrong to feel annoyed. But if that annoyance leads to a reaction out of proportion to the issue at hand, we can bank on the fact that this eruption has a root of rot.
Here are some telltale signs of roots of rot:
• I throw out statements like, You always ... You never ... Why can't we ever ...
• I start gathering ammunition from past situations to build my case.
• I use words and a tone outside my normal character.
• I justify my reaction by pointing out how hard my life is right now.
• I demand an apology, all the while knowing I should be giving one.
These are not fun to admit, but here's the beauty of the situation: The quicker we see a root of rot, the quicker we can get rid of the stink and move forward.
Dear Lord, thank You for bringing to light the rotting areas of my life. Help me to address these areas with Your grace and truth. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Related Resources: For more encouragement and practical advice on how to deal with difficult situations, check out Lysa's new book, Unglued. Available now!
Reflect and Respond: Is there a situation in your life that you have stuffed down to keep the peace?
Pray God will show you how to address this situation.
Power Verse: Mark 11:25, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." (NIV)
© 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
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