Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Your Love Never Quits~ January 20, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 11:54 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This blog has a stat tracker that keeps me in the know on site traffic. While not elaborate, the details include: number of visitors, the posts that were read on any given day and the most informative, search terms that led readers to my site. There are two search terms that I see frequently. The first, “Valerie Rutledge blog,” (thank you, by the way, to whomever follows my writings specifically). The second, and the one I want to address today, “you never loved me.”

It shocks me how often this phrase appears. Each time it grips my heart, seizing it up for just a moment. While I hope that finding their way to my blog ministers to them and brings healing, it pains me to know how many people are suffering in this capacity. I imagine downcast faces, sitting in front of a dimly lit screen, seeking answers for why they’ve found themselves in a loveless relationship or perhaps one which has recently ended.

My heart aches for you, that you’ve found yourself in this place of searching, trying to understand what went wrong. What did you miss or could you have done differently? The pain that comes from love that’s been lost is real and deep and incomparable to any other.

While I sincerely wish I could bring healing to your broken heart or answer the burning question of “why,” I cannot. What I can do is point you to a love that never fails. I can introduce you to the One that will never lead your thoughts down the path of “you never loved me.” His name is Jesus and a relationship with Him is a sure thing. He will never leave you nor forsake you. When you stumble or when you screw up monumentally, His love for you is steadfast.

I am not so gullible to believe that this will erase whatever pain you feel in this moment, when your heartbreak is fresh and the grief comes in waves. But I pray it soothes your soul, like the warmth of the sun as it kisses your skin or the familiarity of a trusted friend’s embrace. Let the Lord’s love mend your broken places today and know, sweet friend, that I am in your corner. IMG_1918

 

~Why Don’t They Like Me?~ January 13, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 11:25 am
Tags: , , , ,
IMG_1605

Book credit can be found in the comment section of this post. Thanks, Blake!*

I came across this snapshot and for the life of me I can’t recall where. I’ve tried to find the book that this exert was taken from, again coming up empty. These words from a single page have resonated with me since the first time I read them. You see, deep down I like to be liked. I want to get along with every person I’ve ever met and for them to think fondly of me and vice versa. It’s childish, really, to think that we can get along with every person who crosses our path. But that is where two short paragraphs, from a book I’ve never read, have given me a bit of freedom.

I truly believe it to be okay to not “be” for everyone. Just as we all have different taste in foods, hobbies, and the like, we have different taste in qualities that we desire in our relationships. The intricacies that define us may make us intolerable to some….but not all. Rather than spend your time trying to force someone’s affection, why not foster the relationships of the ones who do think highly of you?

While I know with assurance I am not for everyone nor is everyone for me, I am adamant that we can and should respect one another in spite of our differences. If you find yourself in the presence of someone who you’re not particularly fond of, or you know without a doubt they can’t stand you, be polite. Try to see that while they may not be your cup of tea, they mean a great deal to someone. That’s the beauty of this life we’ve been given, that we all have the ability to love and plenty of opportunities to receive. Don’t expend too much energy questioning why someone doesn’t like you. It is a far better use of time to celebrate what makes you uniquely, unapologetically you.

“Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life.” (Proverbs 4:23 taken from The Living Bible)

 

~Seeing Grey~ July 28, 2014

6e3ef532ac671146c0756602673a4d20First the books were released and our news feeds blew up with conversation of “mommy porn.” Now that the movie is set to debut on Valentine’s, (classy move Hollywood), once again my screen is flooded with Grey.

I’m not typically one to shy away from controversial topics when it pertains to what I will and won’t write about. I’ll be honest, I have considered this off limits since the day I realized that I know a great number of women who read the books and are now anxiously awaiting the day it hits the big screen. I didn’t want to offend anyone with my opinion. But, being silent isn’t really my style & it would make me look like a hypocrite to remain close trapped on this when I have been so outspoken on other matters.

Before diving in to this post, let me preface with this, I am not condemning those of you who have chosen to consider this entertainment. It will become clear that I do not agree with you, but I don’t think less of you. Oftentimes a differing opinion is offensive & sparks heated arguments. That’s not my goal here. My only reason for breaking the silence from my side of the debate is to shed a little light as to why I think this type of material needs to be avoided.

Now, I have not read any of the books so I am aware that my opinion is based on limited information. What I have done is read book reviews, followed conversations of those who have read & most recently watched the 2 minute trailer that was aired on daytime television. I have more than enough material to state my case.

Countless women are touting this as nothing more than fantasy, a somewhat twisted romance novel, meant to bring excitement into the boring lives of stay at home moms everywhere. Surely the women making these lax comments have never been at the mercy of a man who made them feel the very real emotions that come along with this type of “relationship.”

I’m guessing those who find this type of fantasy exciting have never had a man use the weight of his body to prove his strength over you, rendering you completely helpless to fend off whatever came next. I’d say it’s safe to assume that you’ve never been in a position where your naivety and eagerness to please in order to feel loved & accepted was used as a tool of manipulation in order to fulfill someone’s selfish desires. I bet you haven’t a clue what it does to one’s self-esteem to submit to some level of degrading behavior because you’ve been made to believe that is what love is about.

Perhaps it simply hasn’t occurred to you who sing the praises of this book and others like it that you may be unknowingly condoning the horror that someone you know and care about has either walked through or worse yet is currently enduring? Kind of takes the lighthearted aspect out of, “it’s just a book.”

Friends, this is no more “just a book” than Playboy is just a magazine. It is one more way that we are becoming desensitized to what we should find offensive. There is nothing morally right about a woman’s vulnerability being exploited in order to satisfy the self-serving desires of a domineering man. It’s abusive & embarrassing to have someone claiming to love you persuade you to express that love in ways that leave you feeling ashamed and used. Why on earth would any woman, Christian or not, build up this type of behavior?

My initial thoughts were about are my girls. I would be mortified to think that my beautiful, intelligent, strong willed little ladies would grow up to believe that this sort of behavior is not only acceptable but applauded. I cringe at the possibility that one day a man would enter their lives that would play on their weaknesses and manipulate them into sacrificing their integrity in order to gain their affection.

Then there are my boys. Most days it feels like we’re fighting a losing battle as we desperately try to instill values that are rapidly being labeled as old fashioned. We encourage simple things like opening doors & surrendering your seat for ladies while their peers label women with titles I won’t dare repeat. My desire for them is to admire a woman who respects herself and has enough regard for her body & sexuality to protect it, not willingly lay down her beliefs to satisfy them.

How can we effectively teach these principles if we are a walking double standard?

That, in a nutshell, is why I personally will not read or watch anything that turns violence & degradation into a desirable quality for a mate. I prefer to keep my idea of love and intimacy in tact, where two people commit to honor the other above themselves. I refuse to allow my children to see me choose entertainment where women are objectified and dominance is regarded. I can’t get on board with the group proclaiming harmless fun for a girls night out. I won’t give the impression of indifference by keeping quiet.

I don’t expect this article to change anyone’s mind. I do hope that it makes you pause before taking such a laid back approach to what you allow yourself to be exposed to.

For those of you who are interested, these are just a few of the Scriptures I found helpful in regards to this matter & others like it.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” Psalms 119:37

“And so I insist-and God backs me up on this-that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion .” Ephesians 4:19 

 

~Words~ February 16, 2014

When was the last time you caught yourself  using one of the phrases your parents used to say?  You know the ones I’m talking about, the very things you swore you would NEVER say when you became a parent!

‘If you don’t stop making that face it’s going to freeze that way!”

“If so-n-so jumped off a bridge, would you do that too?”

“Because I said so, that’s why!!”

“Do as I say, not as I do.”

“When I was your age…..”

I believe that Proverbs 6 gives us some Biblical insight to explain this phenom:

“My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.  Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck.  When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.  For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life” (vs. 20-23)

The words that we speak in any relationship stick, but especially those that we speak to and about our children.  I can remember many encouraging words that my parents spoke into my life….I can also remember the not so good words.  I’ll never forget a time when someone had said something that absolutely devastated me and when I sought counsel the response I got shocked me, “They’re just words.  Let it go.”

No.  They are not just words.  Matthew 12:36 says “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”  Perhaps if we took that into account before we opened our mouths, we’d be a bit more careful in our choice of words.  The tongue is tiny but holds the power of life and death.  There is no such thing as “just words.”

I’d like to give us a little visual to aid us in our language towards our loved ones, more specifically, the little ones left in our charge.  Imagine that every person on earth has an empty cup in their hearts.  We should be pouring crystal clear water into every empty cup we encounter.  Our children’s cups should be filled to overflowing so that when the world attempts to dump it’s contaminated sewer water into them, there will be no room in their cup.

The crystal clear water is encouragement, biblically sound teaching and words of praise.

The sewage water represents the culture that we live in that offers up words that go against every teaching of the Word of God.

One springs up life while the other pollutes.  Which one do you hope that your children will say of you?words

 

~Treat Your Wife Like Wisdom~ February 14, 2014

Something that has always intrigued me is how wisdom is referred to as “she” and “her” in the Bible.  Naturally, being a lady, I initially thought, “That’s right!  Women are the smart ones!”  Of course I had to reluctantly admit that’s not why a neutral noun was replaced with a feminine pronoun.

A quick synopsis would be: If wisdom is a woman, man is the head of said woman, Christ is the head of man so ultimately wisdom is Christ himself.

Moving on.

Since today is Valentine’s Day, my Proverbs 4 post is in relation to married (or soon to be so) couples.  Specifically, I’m speaking to the men.strong marriage

Read the following verses:

“Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.  Lover her, and she will guard you.  Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!  And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.  If you prize wisdom, she will honor you.  She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown.”  (vs. 6-9)

Now, everywhere you see the word wisdom, replace it with “wife.”

“Don’t turn you back on your wife, for she will protect you.  Love her, and she will guard you.”

Fella’s, it is hazardous to your health to turn your back on your lady.  Having a wife is like having a second pair of eyes & ears and an extra mind & heart.  Why would you turn your back on that kind of support system?  It is to your benefit to love her.  The maddest I have ever been is when I felt someone had insulted my husband.  I can easily overlook an offense when it affects only me, but you attack my husband and you will see a whole other side to this normally tame gal.  Guys, you may think you don’t need your lady to “guard” you, but we see things differently than you do.  Gaining the feminine perspective to situations can save you from trouble.

“If you prize your wife, she will honor you.”

Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church.  The love Christ has for us is the most sacrificial example of love there is; He gave his life for us.  Likewise, husbands are called to love their wives in the same manner.  Place your wife’s needs above your own and she will in turn honor you all the days of her life.  Unfortunately, I have heard husbands say of their spouse, “she has no respect for me.”  Quick question, are you treating her as if you cherish her?  That is, after all, what it means to prize her.

For this last analogy, I am going to use The Message translation of the 2nd half of verse 8 & verse 9.

“Throw your arms around your wife—believe me, you won’t regret it; never let her go—she’ll make your life glorious.  She’ll garland your life with grace, she’ll festoon your days with beauty.”

Hold. Your. Wife.  You may look at her and think, “this…is NOT huggable!”  Do it anyway.  We find comfort and safety in your embrace, even if we don’t say so.  Speaking for myself, when I feel the support of my husband, it gives me a whole new level of confidence and assurance in who I am and what I am called to do.  It allows me to be a better wife & mother but more than that, his love and support encourages me to be a better servant to the Lord.  That will bring honor to my husband and family.  That will add grace and beauty to our lives.

Ok ladies, can I get an amen?!

All joking aside, these verses spoke to me in the exact way I translated them above.  Truthfully, we ladies could just as easily look at it in relation to our men but I wanted to address the guys for a change.

I hope that you all have a blessed and happy Valentine’s Day.  I pray that we would all take the time and put forth the effort into loving our spouses the way that God designed it to be.  extraordinary spouse

 

~Silence is Deadly~ February 10, 2014

This past week my mother was staying with us.  I had just gotten home from dropping off the older kiddos so I was down to one little person in the house.  Mom & I were hanging out in the kitchen, fixing breakfast and talking when Mom suddenly stopped.

“It’s quiet.  Should we be concerned?”

“Yup.  Quiet is always a bad sign in this house.”

Well there that is.  Quiet never spells anything good in our home.  It’s an indicator that something not so good is about to hit the fan.

Silence is the number one relationship killer.  I guess I should say relationships because all good ones require communication, not just the one with your spouse.

You want to have a successful marriage?  Never stop talking.  I’m sure all my male readers just clicked “unfollow.”  Sorry fellas, but if you’re wife goes clam on you and suddenly your little chatter box barely breaths a word to you…you in trouble.  BIG trouble.  You see, a woman talks because she believes that you care enough to hear every little thing that she feels, thinks & cares about.  If she stops the communication, chances are it’s because she thinks you’ve checked out and could care less about what she has to say anyway so what’s the point in wasting her breath?

If you desire close friendships, be open with people.  Talk about your struggles, your dreams your success and in doing so, it allows others to feel comfortable to do the same.  If there is one thing I’ve learned through blogging, it’s that people respond to realness.  If you drop the act and get down in the dirt where life is lived, people will be drawn to that and connect with you on a more personal level.

How bout the parent/child relationship?  So many parents think communication with their kids is a one way street….wrong.  Not that I have all the answers, but come on now.  Yes, Mom & Dad are in charge of their brood but does that mean you can’t give explanations behind your rules and expectations?  While children may be under our authority, I believe they should have some freedom to speak their minds.  With 5 kids living in this house, they may have come from my husband and I but they couldn’t be more unlike us in some areas.  It’s unbelievable!  I catch myself looking at them and thinking, “Dear God, this can’t be my kid.  They are nothing like me!”  That is why I feel it’s important to communicate with them; you talk they answer and back and forth you go until you have a better understanding of one another.  Couldn’t hurt.  Just sayin’.

It is my opinion that there is one thing that brings a screeching halt to all communication, regardless to which type of relationship you are dealing with.

You ready for this?

Assumptions.

Don’t make me spell it out, but we’ve all heard what assume really means when you put a couple of perfectly placed spaces.  I’ll give you a hint, it has something to do with a barn animal who appears in the Bible a time or two.

So many times, I have been guilty of being tight lipped because I assumed I knew what the other person was going to say in response.  I’d press it down, fight it out within myself and leave the other party completely out of the conversation.  Acting like this is horribly unfair.  You and I aren’t giving the other person a chance to prove us wrong.  (It is possible that we are wrong, by the way.)

I’m going to give you a real simple statement to say to yourself the next time you find yourself assuming you know what someone else is going to say or do:  “I don’t know nothing.”  (Grammar teachers everywhere are cringing.)

Because truth be told, if you never give the other person the opportunity to engage in open conversation with you, then you really don’t know a thing about them.  Not one thing.  I may elaborate on the this some other time, but for now, TALK to the people in your life!  Disregard all preconceived ideas about who you think they are and how you think they will react, open your mouth & your ears and communicate!conversation

Here is a two step plan to ensure that your conversations will be free from judgment.  You have to complete step one in order to make step two happen:

1.  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

(Colossians 3:16 NKJV)

2.  “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

(Colossians 4:6 NIV)

 

~Depth Perception~ February 6, 2014

I have always been a bit of a klutz.  Mrs. Lisa might be disappointed to know that all those years of dance didn’t carry over into my every day life.  I’ve often been accused of having poor depth perception.  I get in a rush, cut corners and stub my toe.  Or I’ll have an armload of groceries and feel so sure that I can still squeeze through the door only to smack straight into the door jam and nearly topple over backwards off the porch.  Grace, is not my middle name.

As I thought about this particular problem, I realized that my inability to gauge the depth I am working with is connected directly to my need to rush.  If I would take the time to assess the situation, looking at the logistics if you will, then I would likely save myself from a bloody toe, busted backside and a plethora of multi-colored bruises.

With this same mindset, I wondered if I have ever been guilty of undervaluing a person’s depth.  It didn’t take me long to realize the answer would be a resounding yes.

You know that when we look at another person, we are getting just a glimpse into who they are.  We see what they want us to see.  We then make our judgments as to what kind of person they are and how “deep” they may be.

In my recent self-reflection, I found that I am far more complex than I would ever have admitted to myself, much less anyone else.  It also afforded me the opportunity to discover much of the same about others.

You, like me, probably prefer to think of yourself as being non-judgmental, but on some level, we all are.  We form our opinions of others based on what we think we know.

So-and-so never speaks up during meetings, prayer times, etc so they must not care about what’s being discussed.

I have never seen Jack or Jill shed a tear, they are so insensitive.

He/She always walks around with that tough, I-could-care-less expression on their face, they could never understand what I’m going through.

Then something happens and you are placed in a position to find just how wrong you were about that person.  It may be they suddenly pour their heart out in a small group, bible study or some other intimate, more personal environment and you see them in a whole other light.  Perhaps they hear through the grapevine (also known as the gossip chain) that you have been through the exact same struggle they are currently faced with so seemingly out of nowhere, they seek your counsel.  The parallels in your lives remove barriers that you never knew were there!

It is my desire to know the people the Lord places in my path on a deeper level.  I don’t want to fall in the habit of believing the facade that is presented is all that there is to any one individual.  In order for others to feel comfortable with allowing us to see their depth, we must first be willing to let ours show.  The sooner we drop our preconceived notions about one another, the quicker we can develop real, meaningful connections that will lead to spiritual and emotional growth.

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!

By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

(Ecclesiastes 4: 9, 10 & 12 The Message)

Maybe it’s time we take a look at how we measure one another’s depth so that we can create bonds which are not easily broken.  When we take the time to properly gauge situations, we can navigate “sharp corners & tight doorways” with ease.

depth

 

~Face to phone screen~ January 7, 2014

Like most cultural changes, I am sure it hasn’t escaped your attention that people prefer texting to talking, email over handwritten notes and tossing someone a gift card as opposed to a heartfelt, personal gift.  Is anyone else worried that we are rapidly losing our human connection?  It seems that the more we take advantage of these modern conveniences, the more desensitized we become.

Face to face conversations have been replaced with face to screen time.  I myself have been guilty of addressing issues with my husband via text because I didn’t want to deal with it in person.  I convinced myself I was saving us an argument by typing out my feelings because then I could edit what I said.  But that’s unhealthy and it certainly isn’t biblical.

What about when people take their conflicts to social media for all the world to see?  What exactly could you hope to gain by belittling one another in an open forum that allows others to jump into a conflict that’s not their own?  What I find amusing is that most of what people say online are things they wouldn’t dare say in person.  Just because you are letting your fingers do the talking doesn’t make your words less offensive.  You are still held accountable for what you say, whether you say it with your lips or your rapid firing fingertips as they fly across the keys.

How are we to handle conflict when it does arise, and it certainly will in healthy relationships?  My advice would be to turn to the words of Matthew 18: (please keep in my mind this is referring to our relationships with fellow believers)

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.” (verse 15)

Our initial reaction when someone hurts us is to tell someone else about it, then we can have someone validate our feelings & “take our side” in the conflict.  However, our first response should be to speak to the one who upset us.  When we go directly to the offender, chances are we will be able to quickly resolve our differences without need for a mediator because most people respect others who are able to communicate honestly.

What happens when you try the direct approach and it isn’t received too graciously?

“But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.” (verse 16)

Note that it doesn’t say rally the troops and turn it into “he said, she said” debate.  If you find yourself in the midst of an argument where one-on-one communication is no longer effective or constructive, it may be a good idea to seek godly counsel.  Agree on a neutral party who can speak wisdom into the situation without taking sides.  It may be someone from your pastoral staff, a friend whom you both respect or in some cases you may need to seek counsel from a professional.  The point is, if you are unable to hash out your grievances amongst yourselves, the next avenue needs to be seeking wise counsel, not ranting to anyone and everyone who will listen to build your case.

As you go through your day, if you find yourself tempted to ‘post’ about your problems, try this approach first.  Don’t succumb to the pull of social media to do your dirty work for you.  Human contact will always trump social media.  You will choose your words more wisely in person than you would sitting behind the safety of an illuminated screen.  And the person who has your panties in a twist will respond more rationally if you are “man enough” to speak to them as opposed to about them.

social media fight

 

~Love before you speak~ December 23, 2013

When faced with adversity, how differently do you suppose the outcome would be if we stopped to ask ourselves, “is what I’m about to say coming from a place of love or condemnation?”

Oftentimes we don’t take the time to think before we speak.  We are so consumed by believing that we are right and they are wrong that we spat out our message with little to no regard to how it’s going to be received.  What is the point of speaking your mind if it falls on deaf ears?  What good does it do ramble on and on if the person you are trying to reach has built a wall between you and them so as to protect themselves from your unfiltered message?

Everyone has heard that the Bible stresses the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself.  How loving are you being when you’ve become so closed minded that you refuse to hear the other person’s feelings?  Just as you feel justified in your opinions, so does the one on the other side of the disagreement.  Why are you entitled to share your stance while you cut them off at the knees when they take theirs?

Love, people.  It’s an action word.  Loving others is the only thing that keeps people from diverse backgrounds living in harmony when society tells them that their differences should drive them apart.  Love puts the focus on the person and nothing more.

I remember when I was a bratty teenager my mom looked at me one day and said, “Valerie, I love you but right now I don’t like you very much.”  I learned a very valuable lesson from that statement.  Just because I love you doesn’t mean that I have to approve of or like everything you do and say.  Love, real love, should be free from contingencies.  My love for people is not based on what they do for me in order to deserve my affection.  It is based solely on my desire to extend the same grace that I receive on a daily basis, even in spite of my shortcomings that would dictate just how unlovable I am.worty

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.

(1 Corinthians 13:1-7 The Message)

 

~Is silence golden?~ December 5, 2013

Let me just begin by saying that if you are a woman, you need to at least read the book Unglued.  Even if you can’t do the study that goes along with it, the book alone can change your life.  You men folk could probably learn a thing or two about what makes your lady tick…literally…so maybe you should pick it up too.

Lysa has been all up in my business these last few weeks but it’s ok, she’s ministering not meddling.  She has a knack for making one aware of issues you either didn’t know you had or were in extreme denial over.  One particular thing that drew my attention was when she referenced how some of us have the habit of biting our tongue when we’re upset, thinking that we are being more spiritual by saying nothing.  You mean that isn’t the case?  Let me tell you something friends, I have bitten my tongue until I’ve tasted blood and nothing about the thoughts in my head screamed “Jesus girl.”  I would convince myself that I was taking the higher ground because I didn’t say what I was really thinking, all the while making mental notes of all the wrongs the offender had ever committed.

There is one verse in Proverbs that I based my “stuff-it-in” logic on, “it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”   I do believe that we honor God when we choose to forgive an insult rather than retaliate.  BUT, are we really overlooking the offense when we say or do nothing while building feelings of resentment for another person?

This just in-bitterness is not biblical.

If I am to be completely honest with myself, half the time when I chose to remain quiet it was so I could think, (rather smugly), that I was holier than thou.  Typing that out makes me realize just how nasty of a mindset that is!

There are times that nothing needs to be said.  My mother would call that choosing your battles wisely.  However, if you can’t truly let it go and move forward, than you need to address the issue before it has time to fester.  Think of it relation to a minor cut.  Let’s say you slice your finger and it doesn’t seem too bad so you don’t clean it up and it goes untreated.  After some time you notice it isn’t healing like it should but you think, “It’s just a little cut.  No need to do anything, it will heal eventually.”  Before you know it, that little cut becomes infected.  Having chosen to ignore the need for treatment, what began as a minor injury has now spread throughout the entire body like wildfire.

The same can be said for hurt feelings that you push down as opposed to hashing them out with the one who has you upset.  Dealing with your emotions is far healthier than swallowing them down until you choke.  Just think, would you rather deal with a tiny wound and be healed or allow it to seep in like a poison and consume you?bitter root