Have you ever had someone hold a grudge against you? It’s a painful and frustrating experience. Hardness of heart, resentment, revenge and bitterness are terrible traits. They lead to dark and barren places of the soul. Some of the saddest people I know are folks who let life and relationship problems make them bitter. They refuse to forgive from the heart, and this decision exacts a toll from them over time. They’re usually not even aware that the poison of resentment is slowly destroying them, and people around them.
When a person withholds forgiveness from us there’s little we can do to change their mind or perspective. The challenge is to make sure it never happens to us. When we understand the ugly under-belly of unforgiveness we should be motivated to avoid it at all costs.
While we can’t control how someone else handles their hurts and offenses, we can control what we do with ours. We can develop a “teflon heart.”
Teflon was invented by Dupont many years ago. It’s a very slippery substance. When applied to items it creates a non-stick surface. We’re most familiar with its use in kitchen products. It makes clean-up after cooking a lot easier.
God wants us to develop a “non-stick surface” on our hearts. While the potential to be hurt and offended by others is a part of everyday life, we don’t have to allow this possibility to become reality. We can choose to be “offenseless.” We can decide that relational and emotional stuff is not going to stick to our spirit. We can allow the love of God to coat our hearts in such a way that clean-up from painful encounters with people is quick and easy, or at least easier.
The Bible reminds us of the importance of practicing forgiveness:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just in Christ God forgave you. — Ephesians 4:31, 32 (NIV)
How about you? How much emotional “stuff” sticks to you? Does your heart have a “non-stick surface” or do you accumulate hurt and offenses? How quickly do you clean away emotional disappointments and pain and move forward with real forgiveness and grace?
Ask God to “teflon-coat” your heart with His love!