Escaping The Grudge Vortex – Scott Visser
I was walking out of the Kmart Store in Muskegon, Michigan at 1:20 pm – minding my own business and heading back to my job sight. By the time I made it to the car, my thoughts travelled a few years back in time. Three or four men were on my mind. It wasn’t pretty.
It was like an invisible vortex of hurt and anger sucking me in and pulling me downward in the same old circular patterns of thought. Does anybody out there besides me think around and around in the same circles? I am really starting to think it is something like a spiritual funnel designed by the Devil to suck my soul to hell. At the very least, it is designed to make me continually ‘down-in-the-dumps.’
Immediately, I called on the Lord for help. And…He helped me!
I saw Jesus in my mind, hanging on the cross, saying ‘Father, forgive them.’ That was all I needed for the moment. The message was loud and clear. If Jesus could forgive people for crucifying Him, I could forgive people for ‘doing me wrong’. If He could forgive offenders that mocked him, spit on him, and ultimately hung Him on a cross, I could certainly forgive those who would not follow my pastoral vision and ultimately rejected my leadership as their pastor.
If he could do it, with His help, I could do it. If He was willing to do it, then I would be willing also. After all, He is my hero. He is my mentor. He is my spiritual guide who leads me into paths of peace. His words have spoken volumes to my heart. His example has spoken even more. There is something about ‘seeing Him’ that makes me more like Him. Some call it ‘monkey see-monkey do’. Others call it ‘like father – like son.’ I guess I call it spiritual impartation that comes from spiritual revelation. When He reveals Himself, He also imparts Himself. I love that about Jesus. It sure beats trying to be good through religious effort.
While all this was going through my head, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a verse I had memorized years ago. It gave me insight to what I had just experienced as the Lord in essence threw me a life ring, and pulled me out of the vortex of bitter thoughts. Here is the verse in II Peter 1:3,
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through
our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
Six key insights that I had never thought of before in my life flashed into my mind and brought His light to my darkness. The first insight was that forgiveness is a divine power. It comes from God.
The second insight was a simple deduction: if forgiveness is a divine power, then bitter grudges are clearly a devilish power. I already knew that but it became clearer in light of this verse.
The third insight revealed the purpose of this divine power. God gives divine power so that we may have spiritual life and godliness. When I am operating in the dark power of unforgiveness, it does not take a rocket scientist to discern that I am NOT experiencing spiritual life or godliness. Simple honesty with myself and God will attest to that. Am I still saved? Of course! But am I miserable because I am not being led or anointed by the Holy Spirit at those times? (…Sigh…) Yes. I am. I am very miserable. Who isn’t?
The fourth insight was already mentioned but now it had a direct scriptural reference. This divine power that gives us the grace we need for life and godliness comes from our knowledge of Him who call us by his own glory and goodness! The better we get to know Him, the more we are empowered to be like him. He just graciously ‘rubs off’ on us. He is contagious. The closer we get to Him, the more strongly we catch what He has!
The fifth insight is equally as good as the first four. Here it is. His divine power is stronger than the Devil’s power! The life line thrown to me was stronger than the hellish water spout that drew me down. The whirlwind of God’s grace got me thinking in upward ascending circles rather then downward, descending circles. When I saw Christ in my heart and spirit, His power to pick me up was stronger than the downward pull and gravity of my grudge.
The six insight is a reflection on my will. What I ‘see’ is a function of where I ‘look’. Where I choose to look is up to me.
Those six insights blessed me and set me free. Still, will I never have another problem with grudges, hurts, and the temptation to be bitter and unforgiving? I doubt it. Will the Devil ever try again to suck me down into his vicious downward spiral of dark thinking? Probably. However… slowly but surely, I am starting to get spiritually wiser and stronger in Christ as I draw near to Him and see Him more clearly. The vortex doesn’t suck me in as long. I am even learning to keep a greater distance from it.
I hope you do too.
Scott Visser, a brother who struggles, sometimes falls, and is loved and helped by His Lord.
Scott Visser is a dear brother in the Lord and a distinguished colleague in the Gospel Ministry. I highly recommend him to you as a strong and reliable spiritual resource. If you would like more thoughts on getting over our grudges, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org