Shows Main Idea – Some people in my church have hurt me, and I want to run down all the gossip to justify myself. I’m also having a difficult time thinking of right things. I need help.
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Podcast Question – I was wondering if you might do one of your podcasts on the subject bitterness. I know I’m fighting it in my mind because some things have happened in my church that has just been so nasty.
In talking with a friend last week, she too has bitterness and hurt because of things, plus when she was a youth at church. I told her I think it has to do with unforgiveness and maybe anger.
I also understand that it ties into training my mind to take godly thoughts. I just have not been able to get to the place where I can let go of things. For me, one of the things that has been hard is that I have sought counsel, but my counselor has gone to other people within the church slandering me to our community and other Christian organizations. It is very hard.
My flesh wants to go and put out every fire that starts to justify myself to everyone. You can see where I get myself in trouble. On the other hand, I understand that God is addressing my heart issues through it. I think part of my bitterness has to do with maybe not trusting God enough to give it over to Him. I know that’s a lack of faith! But in honesty, I have to admit to it. Anyway if you could address that at some point in the future I will be glad to hear it!
- You must learn how to take your thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).
- As you are practicing taking your thoughts captive, draw in a close friend that you can share all this with, especially your mental struggles and give them permission to speak challenging truths to you.
- Find the truth in what others have said about you, no matter how small it may be.
- How you process what they are saying to you is different for each person. E.g., introspective v. non-reflective thinkers or historically hurt individuals v. those with less past pain in their lives. Know the kind of person you are.
- Identify the thing you want from them. If you can get to the point of not desiring whatever that thing is, they will have less control over you. You could learn more about what you want by asking this question: “I would be happy if ________.”
- Let’s say you answered the question by saying, “I would be happy if they stopped gossiping about me.” Whatever you put in the blank, connect it to the Gospel: begin reflecting on how people did similar things to Jesus (Hebrews 4:15).
- After you identify what you want and how it connects to Jesus, begin “identifying” with Him. Draw closer to Him through this “fellowship” that you have in His suffering (Philippians 3:10).
- Recognize that you are mourning. It is a “death of sorts” in that friendships have “died.” There is a “blue funk” season after death.
- Your deepest struggle is a mortification issue rather than an amputation issue. Mortification problems are harder to overcome.
- As much as it depends on you, make peace with others (Romans 12:18; Matthew 18:15-17).
- You will never remove gossip from the church.
- Commit to the God who judges justly (1 Peter 2:24-25).
- Find a community. You’re welcome to join ours.
- Your friends will always love you and your enemies never will. Make sure you know who is who, always discerning who is for you and who is not. Overlook, as much as possible, those who are not for you.
- Learn to pity those who hurt you. Here are five things to help you with that:
- God loves you. Never forget that. The more you are secure in His love, the easier it is to love those who hurt you
- Gossipers are caught in a trap that they get out of right now (Galatians 6:1-2).
- Rather than being on the defensive, take the offensive by finding ways to help them. Prayer may be all you can do for them (Luke 6:28).
- Pray for your enemies, even to the point where you can thank God for them (1 Corinthians 1:4).
- Always guard your heart: Anger, Revenge, Self-Pity, Regret, Fear, and Despair
- Finally, create a friend universe that streams God-centered thoughts to your mind: Friends, music, books, websites, church, prayer, biblio-centered reflective thinking, etc.