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Pointers along the way #331

When we don't like someone
- Jacob Ninan

We human beings are fickle creatures (marked by erratic changeableness), however clever or capable we may be otherwise. God has created us with the ability to think, analyse things rationally, differentiate between feelings and reason, foresee possible consequences of our actions and make wise choices. Yet Adam and Eve's fall has distorted the way we actually think, reason and behave. As natural people we tend to be guided by selfish interests, and our hearts are deceptive in giving us justifications for whatever we want to do (Je.17:9). What God is trying to do now is to restore us to His image. He begins by taking away our heart of stone (selfishness) and giving us a new heart (Eze.36:26). However this process is a lifelong sanctification, and at every stage we feel the pull of our old nature which we need to resist, and place ourselves in line with the new nature (Ep.4:22-24).

One major example of this is what happens when someone has displeased us in any way. If this has been a drastic event or a series of small events, we find our hearts changing towards that person however dear he may have been to us before. From this point onwards we begin to think of him with negative attitudes. Everything he says or does appears to be 'bad.' Slowly we begin to attribute bad intentions in that person's dealings with us, and misunderstand even the good thing he does. Our eyes have put on coloured glasses which we consistently use to look at him.

We know, in theory, that we ought not to be like this, but that we should forgive him, bear with him, etc. We also recognise that we might be misinterpreting him in many ways, but we don't seem to be able to see things any differently. We seem to be only getting more convinced about his bad behaviour towards us.

What is happening is that we have started listening to the Devil who saw the opening in our life and put his foot inside. His ideas and suggestions are so convincing and persuasive that we think we have reasoned out and reached the conclusions ourselves! The Bible warns us about this and tells us to be careful. We are instructed to get rid of our anger at the earliest so that the Devil does not get a foothold (Ep.4:26,27). It is not wrong to feel angry when others provoke us, but it would be wrong to retaliate in anger or hold on to resentment in our heart because then we would give the Devil grounds to work on.

Another way we can allow the Devil access is by neglecting to forgive others from our heart (2Co.2:10,11). By forgiving others we protect ourselves from attack! We need to forgive as an act of our will, even if we don't feel like doing it. God helps us by reminding us how He has forgiven us freely without our deserving it (Ep.4:32). Jesus forgave His murderers without even waiting for them to repent (Lk.23:34).

When we find ourselves wearing these coloured glasses, it is time to seriously seek for grace from God because otherwise we may get into worse and worse scenarios.


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