May 27, 2016

Are You Holding A Grudge

I recently read passages from The Forgiveness Solutions by Dr. Philllip Friedman. It is a practical book focused on providing the reader with techniques for learning how to forgive those who have disappointed, offended or betrayed you. 

Among the numerous stories Friedman offers is one about a client who went to see a therapist about his inability to forgive someone who had injured him. When the session ended, the therapist told his client he should leave the office through one of two white doors. 

The client, however, insisted he wanted to leave through a pink door. Despite being told there was no pink door, the client walked to what he believed was a door and crashed into a pink wall.

Finally, the therapist pointed out his client’s problem was like the imaginary door. The client could hold on to his resentments, pain and his grudges and continue to suffer (knock his head against the wall), or he could forgive, let go and seek a better past and future.

One of my favorite bits of advice regarding forgiveness suggests that we should never hold a grudge. While we fret and fume over some disservice done to us, the other person is . . . enjoying a round of golf.

Included In the Lord’s Prayer are the words “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” If you find it difficult to forgive someone, perhaps it’s time to view this phrase as both a command and a prescription from the Master Physician for our emotional well being. 

May 17, 2016

Don't Let the Devil Steal Your Joy

If the cards you received from friends and loved ones at Christmas were typical, most included a wish for a Happy New Year. What about it? Will your new year be happy? According to a 2006 Pew Research Center survey, over 46 million people in this country say they are not happy.

Our country is involved in a war against terrorism, but each one of us is in a private war against Satan who is determined to deprived of all our joy.

The apostle Peter said that Satan walks around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, and Paul tells us that we wrestle, not against flesh and blood but the rulers of darkness.

Paul Meier, author of Happiness is a Choice, points out that the Devil cannot steal your joy if you recognize that you, not Satan, are in control of your own attitude. Or as Abraham Lincoln said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” 

In other words, your attitude toward life, toward misfortune, toward the irritants of each day is yours alone, and nobody, not the Devil, not your boss, not the Republicans or the Democrats, the liberals or the conservatives can take your attitude from you unless you let them.

One of Satan’s most effective weapons for stealing your joy is when you allow yourself to brood, stew, fret and fuss over a disservice that someone did to you. Meier suggests that forgiving others is the single most important thing we do to be happy.

People whose opinions I respect debate the existence of Satan, but for me, Paul’s command to “put on the armor of God” is an invitation to prepare for battle against an image of evil personified who exists to steal my joy. I invite you to share that image.