A close family member has made some poor choices that affect many others, including children. I was shocked by what she did; it was unbelievable. I was not feeling any love toward this person, and I was hurt by how she was hurting others. I was having trouble sleeping because my thoughts were consumed with the situation, by all the questions of “what if?” and “what will happen?” I had lost my sense of peace. I had strong feelings of anger, resentment, and hatred towards this family member; I wanted her to hurt for all the hurt she was causing those I love. I wanted revenge, justice, payment for wrong.
The Lord is sovereign over my situation
But the Lord reminded me that the situation is not mine to fix. Psalm 38 came to mind, a Psalm of David asking the Lord not to forsake him. In it, he says “I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.” Yet in his troubles, David sought the Lord, recognizing God as his hope and salvation and confessing his sin—how I could, and still do, relate to David’s words and heart cry!
I knew that I had to humble myself before my Father and confess my wrong thinking. He is the Lord of my life, the Lord of my thinking, and the Lord of all; He is sovereign. I needed to release my situation to Him and trust and obey Him. He reminded me that Jesus is my Savior and my redeemer. He is also my comforter, my counselor, and my strong tower.
Sin affects my thinking
Sin has infected all of creation, all of us—my family, me, and my thinking. Even though I had a reason to be upset, I was not without sin. Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned.” It does not add “except for Sandy.” I was reminded of Psalm 19:14, which says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD my rock and my redeemer.” I was not speaking those words of hatred, anger, and resentment out loud, but I was sure thinking them, and this was not pleasing to my Father. I felt convicted about my attitude towards my family member. I know that I am a sinner who needs Jesus, and I am lost without him—so is she. Why would I not want Jesus to be her Savior too?
My Savior offers grace upon grace
God showed his love for me, while I was still a sinner (Romans 8:28). I was filthy, unclean—but Jesus died for me to give me life to the full, eternal life. There was nothing I could do or say that would make me clean before a holy God; only Jesus could do that. John 1:16 is one of my favorite verses: “For from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” This is our Lord—He doesn’t just give us grace but grace upon grace. I love how the Message Bible paraphrases this verse: “We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift.” When I confessed my sin, He restored my peace and good rest. I was convicted to love someone who I did not want to love. Only Jesus, my Lord and Savior could change my heart and my thinking and help me to grow in love toward her and obedience to Him.
My faith is strengthened when I seek the Lord
I must confess it is an ongoing process. I have to guard my thoughts and stop them as soon as I start down that path of wrong thinking. I need to replace those thoughts with what is good, true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8–9). I need to be intentional, cultivating a thankful heart.
Practically for me, this means that my goal is to read the Bible daily—not just to check it off, but so that I can truly know Him. I can get “hangry” when I neglect being fed by Him. My thinking can get skewed quickly when I fail to spend time in God’s word and with other believers who will point me to Scripture—the standard for living. It’s important for me to talk to Him, cry out to Him, and trust Him. I need to continue to write His word on my heart. It is not easy, but He is faithful. Lastly, it is important for me to be serving, to get my eyes off myself and my circumstances and to look for the places that God has prepared for me beforehand and walk in them daily (Ephesians 2:10). I know Jesus will be walking with me. What a Savior!
Sandy was married for 36 years and has been a widow for 15 years. She is mom to two sons and “granny” to four grandchildren. She retired from the “work for pay” world 13 years ago and has been happily volunteering and serving in many ways and places since then. Currently, she serves as a Life Group leader, a coach, part of the GriefShare team, and in a few other places. God has been faithful throughout her life, in the tough times as well as the good times. Romans 4:20-21 has recently become one of her favorite passages: “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” There is no one like our Father!