If you know me (us), you’ll know that there is a lot of banter in our house. As much as I enjoy winding Lisa up, the truth is I would never want to upset her. There is (or should be!) something in us that makes us uncomfortable with the thought of upsetting others, particularly the ones we love.
Now translate that to our relationship with Holy Spirit.
Eph 4vs30-32 AMP
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by whom you were sealed and marked [branded as God’s own] for the day of redemption [the final deliverance from the consequences of sin]. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence]. Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.
Put simply, we can, by our actions or inaction, make the Holy Spirit sad. One of the ways we can do that is by allowing bitterness to take root in our hearts; letting disappointment lead to resentment, leading to bitterness.
Another way is by refusing to forgive.
Granted, some things are difficult to forgive; but the only person who is hurt by our unforgiveness is us, and by doing so, we make the Holy Spirit sad. He is willing to help us with our issues of unforgiveness, and He can empower us to make great choices, choices that we couldn’t make on our own – but we must submit to Him and ask for His help.
Corrie Ten Boom tells the story of a pastor who helped her understand the mechanism of forgiveness:
“Up in that church tower,” he said, nodding out the window, “is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. But you know what? After the sexton lets go of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. First ding then dong. Slower and slower until there’s a final dong and it stops. I believe the same thing is true of forgiveness. When we forgive someone, we take our hand off the rope. But if we’ve been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we mustn’t be surprised if the old angry thoughts keep coming for a while. They’re just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down”
Forgiveness starts with a choice. Then the Holy Spirit helps us work through that choice.
Let’s make that brave but necessary choice today – to not allow bitterness to take root in our hearts and to not let unforgiveness have power over us. Let’s avoid upsetting the Holy Spirit – let’s seek to please Him.