What does one do when life does not smile on you; when cheats and deceivers make you miserable; when you have been defrauded; or when some event causes you to give up hope? It would be interesting to know how many people have been defrauded by the brilliant scheme of a charlatan, betrayed by a best friend, or spouse, or lost their life savings, et cetera. There are very few Christians who have not had reason to feel dejected or angry at some time or other.
Jesus has good news (not that we always want to hear it). He wants us to forgive and bury the hatchet against others and also against ourselves (how many times have we felt remorse over a foolish remark or a thoughtless action).
Jesus has a very good reason why He wants us to forgive. Our bodies were not made to carry overloads. They cannot handle stress and anger. That is why Jesus said, ‘Come to Me, you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ 1
Our bodies are a circuit with a fuse that fails when the electricity load (unforgiveness, hatred, jealousy, et cetera), is too high. Jesus is willing to be our ‘fuse.’ He offers to carry the overload of worries, anger, rejection, disappointment, et cetera. In our bodies, the fuse that goes may cause a stomach ulcer, allergies, a heart attack, or other illnesses.
What does the Bible teach? A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.2 How do you have a cheerful heart when everything around you seems to crumble? Experience has taught us that the solution is prayer. The Holy Spirit wants us to pour out our hearts to Him and He will give us peace.
Through many hours of prayer, peace and understanding will come, since the Holy Spirit knows exactly what happened, and wants to help us get healed. Often we cannot change outside circumstances, but we can change our attitudes.
Another aspect we sometimes forget is, does God have a special lesson or plan that He wants us to master? Maybe God wants to teach us perseverance, or prepare us for a bigger task. Those are things that the Holy Spirit will reveal in time as we prevail in prayer. One thing He will tell us, is not to please the devil by living in defeat or hating somebody, or even ourselves, for mistakes we made (often in ignorance).
We can run to the doctor, and many times we have to. But, we should be very careful not to despise God’s advice in His Word. For example, Nehemiah was very stressed about Jerusalem’s plight. The king he served made a remarkable observation, ‘This can be nothing but sadness of heart.’ 3 Remember, our help comes from the Lord who made the heavens and the earth. 4
- Matthew 11:28
- Proverbs 17:22
- Nehemiah 2:2
- Psalm 121:1