Friday, November 19, 2010

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The weather wasn't the greatest on that cold November night in Colorado. But Dick Ebersol's pilot felt they were good to take off. As head of NBC Sports, and the man who took the worldwide coverage of the Olympics to a new level, Dick Ebersol is known as one of the most powerful men in the sporting world. But that night, he was just a dad who lost his son. The plane crashed on takeoff. Dick's older son literally pulled him from the wreckage. But his 14-year-old son Teddy didn't make it out. A few days later, Dick's wife and Teddy's mom, retired actress Susan St. James, was interviewed on NBC's "Today" show. She spoke with amazing poise. At one point, she talked about trying to help the surviving kids know how to handle some of the feelings that might come up - including what she referred to as "resentment." Out of her pain, she made a statement filled with so much insight that I hope I'll never forget it. She said, "I've always told my kids, having resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Poison in Your Soul."

Poison. It's a strong word to describe bitterness and resentment in your heart. But experience proves, and the Bible clearly confirms, that poison is the right word. And it's a poison that affects the person who's hurt you only a little, if at all. But for you, it's a poison in your soul that eats at you from the inside out most of the time.

One of the Bible's warnings about bitterness begins with this sobering possibility: "See to it that no one misses the grace of God." That's in Hebrews 12:15, our word for today from the Word of God. If you're wounded and hurt, that's no time to be missing the grace of God - not when you need it the most. So how do you miss God's grace? Read on. "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." God's grace and our bitterness apparently cannot coexist in the same heart. Either God's grace will push out your bitterness, or your bitterness will push out God's grace.

In reality, you don't hold a grudge - a grudge holds you. It's like you can't stop thinking about the very person you wish you could forget. But a grudge shackles you to that person emotionally. The poison in your soul isn't hurting them, but it's killing you inside. It's a huge, heavy backpack you carry with you everywhere you go.

And hard or bitter feelings toward someone don't just hurt you. They end up "causing trouble" and "defiling many." That negativity spills out on other people; people who don't deserve it. A darkness emanates from your personality, poisoning your other close relationships; sometimes ruining friendships, marriages, children, and churches.

There's only one antidote for the poison - forgiving. Ephesians 4 says "get rid of all bitterness...be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other..." Now comes the zinger. "...just as in Christ God forgave you." The person who hurt you may not deserve to be forgiven, but then you didn't deserve God's forgiveness. To forgive them is not to pretend there was nothing wrong with what they did - it's releasing them completely to God for Him to deal with them. It's drawing a line and making a decision that from this day on you will, with God's strength, base your treatment of them, not on how they treated you, but on how Jesus treated you! You'll copy Him.

You've been the forgivee - now you become the forgiver. Or you store poison in your soul; poison that will cripple or destroy so much that could have been. It's time for the antidote. It's time to be free. It's time to forgive.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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