Ed, my old neighbour in Saskatchewan, has a soft spot for baby chicks. As a child, he saw brood hens sitting on eggs until the eggs hatched. He and his brother would deliver feed and water to the brood hens each day, and impatiently wait for baby chicks to break out of the eggs. As a child, Ed felt that the hens hatching chicks out of eggs took an eternity to accomplish their task.
Children and teens used to be impatient. They said, “I am bored, there is nothing to do!” Now they are texting, playing video games, using their computers, and absorbed in their activities to the point that they may spend more time on their seats, than long haul truck drivers. Ed claims if they were sitting on eggs no brood hen could compete with their ability to stay in one spot for hours.
Is moving about better than sitting? When it comes to our Christian faith, its wellbeing may be impacted by our sitting too long on our thoughts of self-pity. Self-pity is like a dog chewing on a bone. A dog keeps coming back to the bone and keeps chewing on it repeatedly until it is gone. The more we chew on thoughts of self-pity the more likely we are to turn our self-pity into resentment.
Resentment is worse than self-pity because resentment is displeasure and anger at having been mistreated. Resentment becomes the blaming of others and may result in a person holding a grudge or having a score to settle. When a person has a grievance about someone or something it may hatch into bitterness.
Bitterness is a condition or attitude that sours people without them realizing it. It is a sore on one’s soul that has not healed and keeps flaring up in cynicism and animosity. It keeps flaring up because of our unforgiveness and blame of others.
At the heart of the big three troublemakers for our souls is the conviction in ourselves that someone or something has done us wrong. We may not have deserved wrong treatment, but it happens to everyone. It occurred to people in the Bible repeatedly.
Names like Job, Esau, Joseph, and Jesus all endured unfair, even evil, treatment. Suffering in sores, Job wanted God to say why bad things happen to good people. Jacob tricked and cheated Esau out of his rightful inheritance. Joseph could truthfully say that his brothers wanted to kill him, but they sold him into slavery instead.
If the Son of God, the innocent Jesus Christ, was crucified here on earth why do we feel sorry for ourselves when things happen to us that are unfair, painful or evil? In Ephesians, we are told: “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 as in Christ God forgave you.”
The book of Romans instructs us, “Bless those who persecute you; bless do not curse. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” The big three are overcome by forgiving others.