Today, let’s talk about getting mad. If you’ve never been mad at anybody, you can stop reading now.
Since you’re still here, I’m thinking you’ve been mad a time or two yourself. So let’s keep reading…
I was really upset with her. I don’t need to tell you the details because I want you to fill in the blanks yourself. I was really mad at _______ for ________. I’m not worried about you not having anything to put in those blanks because you’re human. We’ve all been really irked at someone for hurting our feelings, hampering our plans or a whole lot worse.
We’ve talked about Jacob in my past posts before, but what about poor Esau. His baby brother stole his birthright and his inheritance…that was a lot more than hurting his feelings. But let’s look back at the story from Esau’s point of view because sometimes we have to look backward in order to move forward. All those years ago, Esau was devastated to learn that Jacob had tricked their father into giving him the birthright and the blessing. Picture the scene:
Esau pleaded, “But do you have only one blessing? Oh, my father, bless me, too!” Then Esau broke down and wept.
Finally, his father, Isaac, said to him,
“You will live away from the richness of the earth,
and away from the dew of the heaven above.
You will live by your sword,
and you will serve your brother.
But when you decide to break free,
you will shake his yoke from your neck.” (27:38–40 NLT, emphasis added)
We don’t know much about what went on with Esau between the time his brother fled to Haran and the time Jacob returned home to Bethel.
We do know that Esau did not like his story.
But something happened in Esau’s heart over those twenty years. He went from vowing to kill his brother to embracing him when he returned (Genesis 32-33). I’m sure it was a process, but at some point, it started with a decision.
Let’s go back and look at Isaac’s words to Esau: “But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck” (v. 40 NLT emphasis added). The AMPC translation says, “break loose.” The Hebrew word translated “break loose go” is paraq, which also means deliver or rescue.
When do we break loose from the yoke of unforgiveness that wraps around our necks and weighs on our shoulders? When we get restless and decide to break free. That’s when our stories will take a new direction.
I can assure you of this, the devil does not want you to break free from the weight of the past. He wants you to wear that yoke of bitterness and resentment for the rest of your life. I can envision him polishing the yoke with a fresh coat of remembrance so shiny he can see his reflection in the surface.
Paul wrote, “And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:10–11).
And what are these schemes? To keep you stuck in a bad story on a dog-eared page of unforgiveness. What is God’s ultimate best? To set you free from the burden of resentment so you can write a new ending to your story. Click & Tweet!
It was Esau’s decision to forgive that set both brothers free from the hate place.
Esau was free, and he set Jacob free as well. At the time of Jacob’s betrayal, I’m sure Esau thought he could never forgive the offense. But grace takes what is impossible with man and makes it possible with God. Click & Tweet!
So for you and for me, it’s time to decide. Will we let go of the anger or hang on to the offense? Will we stay mad or simmer down? Will we shine that yoke clamped around our necks or sever the clasp with the cutters of grace and break free?
Interestingly, Esau’s dad mentioned a yoke around his neck. Today, I wear a cross around my neck.
It seems odd to think we could wear the yoke of unforgiveness and the cross of Christ’s forgiveness at the same time.
I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to be. What about you?
Heavenly Father. ________ hurt my feelings and I have been holding a grudge for long enough. Today, I’m making a decision to set myself free from the yoke of bitterness. I’ve got the key in the shape of a cross. I’ve got the power in the form of the Holy Spirit. I’m deciding, right now, today, to let the offense go. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
C.S. Lewis once said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” What does that quote mean to you? Leave a comment and let’s compare notes.
What if your worst chapters could become your greatest victories? I know that they can!
My new book, When You Don’t Like Your Story, challenges us to ask: What if God doesn’t want us to rip out our difficult stories but repurpose them for good?
In fact, the worst parts of your story might just be what God uses the most. So sink deep into God’s life-changing truths. The next chapter is just beginning. Includes an in-depth Bible study for individuals and groups.
Never realized it but the have your keys from my childhood and adulthood to let go of. While I’m not consciously aware of carrying them like a nose around my neck, my sisters are aware. 1. Help me to rid myself of jealousy. 2. Help me to get rid of anger and hurt from my past, whether it’s from Jesse or Ray or my dad.
I need emotional health to better serve you, Lord.
Peace and forgiveness. Amen
One year out from abandonment and the divorce final I have prayed this am to help my resentfulness. I have said the whole time I had compassion for my husband and forgave him but…I find myself unable to let go and feel forgiveness I my heart. God has forgiven the unforgivable in me and I must do the same regardless of “feelings”. God I pray for the wisdom to claim that forgiveness for my spouse and myself every day.
My name is Lesley and I have also just recently been through a divorce that was not by my choice either so I understand the pain you have been dealing with . My husband abandoned and betrayed me for almost 3 years before he even filed for divorce. I was stuck in the situation because me and my sons were struggling with Lyme Disease and financially needed him. I was so angry with him and so very hurt. Just the thought of him with all the other women he was choosing over me was gutwrenching. Many times I wanted to go to where he was living and slash his tires or just give him a good punch in the nose but God in His gentle voice and loving ways taught me over time as I submitted to Him, with resistance at times, how to love my enemies and to pray for those who are persecuting me or my husband. What he did to me was incomprehensible or at least that’s how one therapist put it but God gave me compassion for him as I prayed and empathy to see it was his brokenness that caused him to hurt me so deeply. He needed the Lord and still does and that is why I continue to pray for him every morning. I chose Psalm 61 because he at one point had highlighted it in my Bible so I believe God had used it to speak to his heart and he can possibly use it again. We women who have been broken abandoned or betrayed by our husbands must remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers of darkness. Our prayers are a form of battle in the spiritual realm. They work not only for the one we are praying for but also for ourselves. The Lord has done a mighty work in my heart regarding my ex-husbsnd and I know He can and will do the same for you. Father I pray that you would help Cathy to surrender her husband and all his hurtful ways to you. Help her to forgive him and remind her that forgiveness is a process and everytime resentment, bitterness or anger creep back into her heart help her to come before you and lay these thoughts/feelings at the foot of the cross and ask that you replace them with forgiveness, grace and the eyes to see her ex as you see him with compassion, love and mercy.. Comfort her, heal her brokenness and use for good in her life all that the enemy meant for evil!! Brimg beauty from her ashes of brokenness. In your precious name Jesus I pray! Amen!
Bless you Cathy!
Thank you Lesley for this beautiful writing. It applies to my husband’s boss that LIED to us for years about our future. Our true future is with Jesus in eternity. I will save your comment and read it often to remind me to let go of the bitterness and anger I feel toward my husband’s boss. satan, get behind us, in the name of Jesus!
Sharon, Thank you for this lesson today. I’ve had this bitterness toward a employee that I work with and this has truly been an unsettling spirit in my heart towards her and this is a daily battle. I vow right now to forgive and let go of the offense. Thank you Jesus for opening this lesson before me, so that I can have peace and love in my heart
I have been dealing with this very thing up close and personal this morning already. C.S.Lewis’ quote means, if God forgave us sinners who were undeserving, who am I to hold a grudge or not forgive/keep record of wrongs?!
It means we are forgiven for ours. So we need forgive those who hurt us. Sometimes this a very very hard to do. For me my kids Dad my ex husband he abused me and my kids. When my was put in a home he broke into her home and stole almost àll her furniture and my mom’s safe where 78,000 of diamond rings. He told police dective he did it but it was grand larceny but nothing was done. I am having a hard time with that
At least he didn’t take away her life. Yet that too should have still required you to forgive him too. Father, please grant Carolyn and each one of us to forgive those who have broken both our heart and trust. Amen
That is a beautiful reminder about the need to forgive… because the heaviness of hanging onto something – even little is so disturbing. This morning I need to let something go that happened just yesterday between my son & daughter-in- law- some rudeness which hurt. I need to forgive before it starts festering.
I have Ben struggling with unforgiveness towards a couple that caused my wedding to my cancelled . This has really helped me .
I have let go of the offense. I have asked for forgiveness. And I know God has heard me and has forgiven me. The friendship will not continue, though. When someone brings up “imagined” hurts, and unloads on me…it is time for me to shake the dust off of my sandals and move on.
GM! This was such a Blessing! Just when you think it shook it off your neck….then to some degree…some of it is still there! Thank You!!!
My husband and I are in ministry, we pastor a church. We are in a rural area so when people are hospitalized for serious illnesses we travel to visit and pray with them. We take food to them when they are sick. Yesterday one of our flock forgot the times we have stood by their side and saw negative things and projected those onto us. The words hurt and their frustration was felt.
Reading today’s devotion helped me to remember not to accept the yoke, but to pick myself up and carry it. To keep on caring, serving and doing as unto the Lord.
Thank you Sharon for this timely message I needed to hear desparately. Your messages have always blessed and encouraged me .
I have lived in an old house that was my husband’s grandmother’s and i have dreamed of a new home for 30 some odd years. Then comes along my inlaws and builds a new home while mine is literally falling in. I have been coming apart at the seams but all i have is all i got at 65 years old. Lord help me
Hi there, what about giving forgiveness but when the other person is not healthy for you to stay close to you aren’t close as before.
Cheryl, I reply based on my experience – – what I have learned working with a Christian counselor. Forgiveness does not mean restoration of the relationship. Forgiveness can be accomplished by one person (you) while relationship restoration requires both persons. Should a person be toxic for you (and they often are not respecters of healthy boundaries you desire to have in that relationship) it is wise to avoid restoration of the relationship. There is much more detail to managing toxic people but this basic concept was helpful for me.
We have been taught to forgive but also walk away and not tolerate abuse from the offender again.
2 of my sisters dumped me and won’t talk…I have no idea why 😢😥😥😢
Your book has helped me to see deep crevices where I was still holding some tiny tidbits of unforgiveness. When I kept thinking about what might have been, if not for the betrayal, I realized that was a spirit of unforgiveness. To truly forgive, I have to also release the plans we made.
Thank you Sharon for always getting down to the nitty gritty and putting it in understandable layman’s terms. I love that!
With God all things are possible. With His grace, I am working through the forgiveness process with my 13yo daughter after my husband of 14 years turned to excessive alcoholism, mental/emotional abuse, and even turned our home into a place of physical abuse towards me.
Praise be to God for His protection! But, that doesn’t mean this whole thing didn’t tear our lives and hearts apart. Devastating doesn’t begin to cover it.
I am so thankful for a wonderful Savior who has already provided a way to move past this. My rock. My fortress. My redeemer. We are doing our part but also seeking God in the rest.
Praise be to HIM!
It means so much to me that God can forgive all of my many sins and love me for the person I am. I am working diligently at forgiving those that have hurt me and moving on to just loving them and moving forward with the plans God has for me. Praise the Lord for going to the cross for a sinner like me!!!! He is Risen, Alleluia!!!!
Thank you for this writing today, It dovetails with things I read just a few minutes ago. First,, I read about living the “golden rule”. In everything-do unto others. Everything. Then I read about conquering m y worst enemy – myself. It does not matter what others have done to me or didn’t do, it is how I react to these things. With God’s grace I can choose to forgive and forget about my feelings. Forgiveness is a much better feeling than not doing as God is speaking to me this morning.
This is so so good. thank you for that jarring truth for our lives.
C.S. Lewis once said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” Really tough one. I tend to carry offence and wear it on my sleeve. Lately my situation changed completely because of what a group of people did to me. The result pushed my entire family out of its comfort zone, me included. I know that this was God’s plan but I have a hard time accepting it and often revert to blaming my offenders. God help me, I really need help to get past this.
Shar so n
Thank you so much Sharon. What a powerful article. I am so grateful because I am in the process that I chose to forgive and asking for forgives from the person as well. For me, I wanted the person to feel the same pain they caused me. But I realized was not only hurting myself the more but also causing harm to this person that needs help to be set free. I have asked the Lord for healing and discernment. And also, kept telling the person to get some help for their own healing and to find peace. I keep praying for this person. Eve Though it hasn’t been easy. There are days I struggle to understand, why this person can hurt other to the point, the other person will wants them to go through the same pain. I am grateful for this powerful Blessing. I needed it. God is never late but always on time. Thank you again
Praise be to God for the power of the Holy Spirit who reminds me of how Jesus forgave me, over and over again, thank you Jesus and thank you Holy Spirit for teaching me how to forgive.Bless you Sharon for opening up this topic of forgiveness in such times as these that we are now battling.
Sharon, I absolutely love that you’re right,we can’t have a cross and a yoke at same time! And not wanting our enemy to gloat.This analogy will stick with me. God Bless you sister!!
To set the actions of those who hurt me, including myself, FREE. Be gracious to myself and them as well. Let. It. Go.
What an impact this message has been! After reading all the comments, I am amazed at how simple it can be to be released from the bondage of unforgiveness. I suffer from ‘lack of recognition’ in my position as a Volunteer Coordinator in hospice, I give much recognition but get very little. Yesterday I was the employee spotlight-it’s been a daily thing our administrator initiated so we could learn more about each other given the COVID conditions of working remotely. I received 2- yes, just 2 thank yous AND for some reason I’m ok with that! I am grateful for the 2 and have a satisfying peace that for me is unexplainable. You can’t make people love you but all I need is the love of Christ!!
So needed to hear this today- thank you❤️
This is such good reference for me to relate to…I too wear a cross daily around my neck, and at times that yoke is tightly squeezing my neck. I am learning to let go of these bitter things that hurt me. It’s been so hard because my husband challenges that in me almost daily. This morning, we argued, and I chose to forgive almost instantly. It still took me about 15 minutes to text him because I was mad but, I did apologize faster than ever. Progress. Thank you Jesus for love and grace that pours out over us.
Thank you for this message today. I’m so glad I chose to forgive.