Posts Tagged ‘John Sandford’

Grace is everything. If I could only grasp the full power of grace every day, nothing could cause lasting harm. Grace diffuses anger, despair, disappointments and resentments which all fuel bitterness. And bitterness hurts everyone.

Hebrews 12:15
Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it.

For some years I worked with the Elijah House ministries; I read many of the John and Paula Sandford books, I participated in the Basic School which taught the essentials of prayer for healing and how to recognize and address bitter root judgments. I met with my own counselor for several years.

So many early bitter roots are like persistent weeds in the garden that grow very deeply in the soil. They cannot be merely cut at ground level, they must be pulled out, otherwise, they will tend to grow back, sometimes larger, stronger, and even deeper than before.

Hurtful instances in our past act in the same way and can derail a life. My own life was on a treadmill of resentments about situations that were mostly outside my direct control: my father’s alcoholism and death when I was a child, my mother’s mental illness, our relative poverty, my brilliant brother, just to name a few. I had an internal tirade always playing in my head: why these parents, why this family, why this city, why this school, why this husband, and why this body. And the follow up to “why” became “if only” — if only I had more money, if only I had a different family, etc. The litany was endless. And each verse dug my roots in deeper and deeper.

When I began the healing process of allowing the Spirit to weed my garden heart, I thought I would explode into a million pieces. I had held on to those issues for so long that I didn’t know who I would be without them.

Although I was able to release many of my old hurts and habits, I recognize now that a life picks up other hurts along the way. Not all bitter roots come from childhood or even teen years, they can find yummy soil ten years ago or five or even yesterday. How deeply they are planted and how much I water my bitter roots will determine how easily they can be removed.

This is where grace comes in, through the love and power of the Holy Spirit, the work of the Messiah, and the intention of God to make all things well.

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I think we know all this stuff about “doing good.” I mean, I think we know we are supposed to “do good” … we know we are supposed to act virtuously. We know we are supposed to take the “high road.” But we often don’t. Why not?

If it’s true that doing good helps us to “… never fall…” and “… receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” (II Peter 1: 10-11), then the converse is true… not doing good or just not choosing to do good, will lead us down a different path. I think, particularly in our culture, that we have become complacent. Many of us go about our every day … not necessarily doing “bad things” but also, not choosing good things either. We are dull. We are lukewarm. We are a bit lazy.

There is some energy required to move toward moral excellence. It takes effort to choose the better way. It’s a conscious choice. John Sandford speaks often of the “slumbering spirit” and I think this condition applies here as well. We must be wakeful and alert to the Holy Spirit. We must be wakeful and alert to opportunities in our daily walk. Look! Today, I expect to be challenged. I expect you will too.

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