Resentment and Persevering Love

I did not write about church yesterday afternoon because I went to see some beautiful waterfalls and saw some beautiful scenery.  Maybe I’ll talk about that later this week, or next week, looking at the question of how that relates to God.  Today, I’ll write about yesterday’s church service.

The theme of yesterday’s service was love.  The pastor found a prayer online about love, and it asked that we might let go of our grudges and reach out in love.  During the prayer part of the service, the band was playing and singing a song that was written by Sara Groves, “Miracle.”  See here.  Allow me to quote from the song:

Lay down your arms.
Give up the fight.
Quiet our hearts for a little while.

Things have been spoken,
Shouldn’t be said,
Rattles around in our hearts and our heads.

Let’s feel what we cannot feel,
Know what we cannot know,
Let’s heal where we couldn’t heal.
Oh, it’s a miracle, it’s a miracle.

The singing of the song was beautiful, and I would say that most of the song is accurate, at least where I am concerned. Letting go of grudges is indeed a miracle.  And, speaking for myself, a lot of my grudges are about things that people have said.  And, yes, those things do rattle around in my heart and head.  The first stanza seems to imply that I am the one swinging and fighting when I relive bad memories.  Sometimes that is true, and sometimes it is not.  Sometimes I feel as if the bad memories and the negativity are attacking me, and my role in the combat begins when I try to counter them, primarily through taking a breather and praying.  But there have also been times when I have been the one agonizing and wrestling in my bitterness, and, yes, I find rest when I lay down my arms and give up the fight—-my fight in my mind with people, that is.

The sermon was delivered by someone in the congregation.  She was talking about a cheerful lady at work who said “Good morning” to a grumpy man for seven years before he finally returned the greeting.  That does encourage me to persevere in love.  At the same time, speaking for myself personally, I usually do not experience a lack of reciprocal love from grumpy people.  The people who throw my friendliness in my face are stuck-up people, or cliquish people, or people who do not seem to think that I am good enough.  I am tempted not to acknowledge them at all rather than to give them the satisfaction of thinking that I want to be their friend.  But may God give me the strength to persevere in love!

May God give me the strength to have an attitude of love towards those who have offended me—-to see those people as people, like me.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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