What makes our
souls live and
relive the past?

What keeps us
in a perpetual
state of turmoil?

Is it not a lack
of forgiveness in
our hearts
- forgiveness of
others and
ourselves?

 

 

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Jesus knew we needed to rid ourselves of these long term effects. He seemed to be more interested in the effect people and things have upon our souls, than the justice or injustice of situations. This is why He said, "as for human approval, this means nothing to me."(Jn.5:41) This is why He told us to rejoice when we are persecuted and abused for His sake (Matt. 5:1 1,12), why we were to fear when the "world thought well of us." (Luke 6:26).

What is the present situation doing to us rather than for us? Is the neighbor we do not trust, the relative with a difficult personality, the work that is beyond our strengthpushing us down or raising us up to greater heights? Do our emotions control us or do we control them? Is our present moment heaven or hell?

God permits the present moment and He is in that moment be it ever so difficult. We must be sure that we do not permit that moment to be the feeding ground of long term anger, resentments, regrets and guilt. These are "spiritual hangovers" from over-indulging in our weaknesses, our lack of love, our pettiness and our pride. We must see what Jesus told us to do and how to act so we do not become drunk with and suffer incalculable harm from the "spiritual hangovers" of bitterness and resentments. Let us see what Jesus told us to do to avoid over-indulging in the present moment and suffering a "spiritual hangover."

"Never let the sun set on your anger or else you will give the devil a foothold." (Eph. 4:27) We don't often think of the enemy getting a "foothold" on us for simply being angry, but the scripture passage does not tell us that the momentary outburst of anger is the "foothold." No, it is in permitting that anger to take up residence in our heart, memory and mind until and after sundown, that we allow the enemy to establish a foothold. When anger "hangs over" for hours, days, months and years, we can be sure we have given the enemy a foothold. The reason for this foothold is that we feel our anger is justified and we have every right to express ourselves in an angry fashion. This may or may not be true, but one thing is a reality, the continuous hashing over of the incident, the embellishment of every detail, and the feeling of self-righteousness disrupts the soul and makes it a vessel of hateful resentment. What is the spark that lights this fire in the soul? Are we trying to justify our anger? Do we delight in feeling superior? What makes our souls live and relive the past? What keeps us in a perpetual state of turmoil? Is it not a lack of forgiveness in our hearts - forgiveness of others and ourselves? We pick, dissect, analyze and scrutinize every offense to justify our anger or make the offender a soul beyond redemption. Whether the offense is real or imaginary, the effect of another's actions or over-sensitive disposition, the remedy is the same - forgive - and place the offender, the offended and the situation in the Heart of Jesus. St. Paul realized the importance of this when he told the Colossians, "Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same." (Col. 3:13) We are to see in the occasion the opportunity to imitate God - to manifest mercy and compassion. However, the imitation of God is often far from our minds. We demand restitution, apologies, reparation and justice done. This is not the worst. We continue to harrass our souls by reliving tense situations and projecting other similar occasions in the future. We create in our soul a state of perpetual disturbance. Every other facet of daily life is seen through the haze of this "spiritual hangover." Our vision becomes double for we see the present moment only in a lopsided fashion with no light to discern God's Will. The slightest demand for sacrifice becomes intolerable in the same way the slightest noise reverberates in the head of a drunk. The inability to let go of a disappointment, a hurt, an offense or an insult gnaws at the soul until it becomes disoriented and confused. The bright and shiny "present moment" is pushed aside for the fog of the yesterday and the darkness of tomorrow.



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