Two words that when I hear them come out of my mouth my “Danger, Danger Will Robinson!” alarms go off inside me.
Never and always … there is so much power in both of these words. So when you use them is the power to which you are referring a blessing or a curse? Do these words show up in your life inspired by love or inspired by bitterness? Do you use them in ways to open your heart to receive or to close off your heart and self-protect?
Can you see why my “danger, danger” signal goes off? There is so very much at stake with never and always.
The upside of never: God’s promise to us in Hebrews 13:5-6 “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (New Living Translation). What does God’s “never” look like? Here is the Amplified translation of the same verse: “for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]”
The upside of always: “I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. And so with unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
The downside of never and always – judgment and bitterness.
To me it’s pretty hard to separate judgment and bitterness. If you are judging yourself or anyone else can you feel the seed of bitterness that feeds the judgment? Likewise, if you are bitter about someone or something, it usually spills out in the form of judgment. Both judgment & bitterness can feel “protective” but that would be a lie of the enemy. The best description I have ever heard about bitterness was by Dr. Mario Rivera-Mendez “Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the person sitting next to you.”
Bitterness/unforgiveness keeps you chained to the very thing that is hurting you. Making the choice to forgive, i.e., let someone/thing/group off the hook, breaks that tie and sets you free from drinking any more poison. It doesn’t mean whatever happened to you wasn’t wrong. Forgiveness sets you free to take whatever wounding is there and the need that has created in your life and give that need to our Heavenly Father who has the supply for your every need according to His riches in glory (Phil 4:19).
Bitterness and judgment show up in phrases like “I or they will always …” or “I or they will never …” . You are going to have fill in your personal blanks for yourself here … so take a moment, put your hand on your heart and ask God “where do I use never and always”? If you’re like me, it’s a pretty long list and God is kind enough to show them to me one at a time when the time is right.
To help you understand what I’m saying, here’s one of my bitter root judgments (BRJ) that my Heavenly Father just revealed to me this week through a dream. The brief version of the dream is I am in a mansion and I know the owner. I feel so driven in the dream to clean up and take care of everything and the owner keeps trying to help me and tells me to stop/rest and enjoy where I am and who/what is around me. I can’t. All I can see is the huge, deep sink of dirty dishes (deeper than I am tall) that need to be taken care of. What follows is from my journal after that dream:
Father I confess this bitter root judgment as sin that everyone always sees me for what I can do for them, how I can take care of them and what they need me to do for them. That is my ungodly expectation Father, not theirs. I do not know what they are thinking. Forgive me Lord. I forgive myself for believing this lie and for isolating myself by judging those around me. I did not know what I was doing. I ask You to put the complete work of the cross between me and all consequences of this sin. I accept the truth that I am loved; that others are just happy to see me and be with me for no other reason than I am me, Your beloved daughter, Abba.
This feels very vulnerable. That “judgment/BRJ” was protective from allowing others to truly connect with me and me to truly connect with them, it was safer to just serve them. It feels vulnerable that it opens the door for possibly not being liked for who I am rather than what I do. Oh, but it also opens the door for being loved for who I am rather than what I do. I hear You, Holy Spirit. Help me to live this out Holy Spirit. Thank You for being my guide, counselor, comforter and strength.
My prayer for each of you is that you would have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to receive as ones being taught by the Lord (Isaiah 50:4) so that you would be set free from bitterness and judgment to receive every good gift Your Heavenly Father has for you! (James 1:17)