Every Thought Captive: Change Your Life by Transforming Your Mind (Post #2)

 The Cure for the Common Bitterness

I was seething. Furious. And I found myself stuck on a train of thought that led to more and more bitterness.every thought captive

I felt like I couldn’t stop. Scenario after scenario, I thought of many ways to get back at this person for what he did to me. Seriously, one morning I was ironing my shirt. (I used to do that when first married.) My mind was in full gear–thinking of what I could say to him, and how I could hurt him back. I almost burnt a whole in my shirt. Not good.

He was the first pastor I worked for after graduating from Bible college. I was the part-time youth/music guy.

Boy, was that a trip–his severe insecurities had led him to intimidate and manipulate people. He hurt many people within his church. And he hurt me, too. I found out, later, that he had done the same to the past 2 youth pastors, also.

Have you ever felt that way? Someone treated you unfairly? You were unjustly accused? Burned by legalists in the church?

Indeed, it’s like a train cruising chaotically out of control. Thoughts creating more thoughts. And these thoughts are negative and damaging. Most of them aren’t true but only assumptions of what might happen the next time you saw them.

This is only one example of thoughts running out of control–leading to bitterness. Other forms of thought can damage, as well.

Thoughts of fear. You know–the infamous “what-ifs.” And these only lead to more bitterness, misery, depression.

So what do you do? Sink further?

There’s Good News. Scripture has a Cure!

And it’s called thanksgiving.

Not the turkey-eating holiday, but the kind that begins in your mind. Check it out:

1 Thess. 5:15-18

15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each otherand for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

What do you think about that?

Instead of thinking about repaying evil for evil, rejoice and be thankful.

Here’s What I’m Learning about Giving Thanks

It doesn’t start in the heart. It begins in the mind. God doesn’t tell us to feel thankful. Most of us don’t give thanks because we don’t feel thankful. But He says to give thanks.

Remember, feelings follow our thoughts.

That’s why you feel bitterness, envy, anger, or overcome by fear when your thinking is on these things.

But when we give thanks, two things happen:

  1. Our feelings soon follow suit. We actually begin to feel good–to feel thankful. It’s like a ton of bricks lifted off our chests. Bitterness weighs on the heart, but thanksgiving frees us to rejoice!
  2. We are living in God’s will. Do you wonder what God’s will is for you when someone hurts you? He tells us in verse 18: give thanks.

But How?

Is it even possible? Absolutely. Or God wouldn’t have told us to. Here are a few things to help us give thanks:

  • Thank God for allowing this opportunity to learn from Him. He promises to work all things for our good (Rom. 8:28). And He NEVER breaks a promise.
  • Make a list of things to be thankful for. This gets your mind off the negative and onto the positive. Give thanks for your family, the weather, your house, things God has blessed you with, your church, your friends, etc.
  • Give thanks for the intimate fellowship that God desires to have with you.
  • Give thanks for the peace that He gives when you think on Him.

What next? The passage above says to rejoice.

That’s a good thing to remember. Feelings follow thoughts. Rejoicing follows giving thanks.

What Do You Think? I welcome your thoughts. Would you leave a comment below?

 

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