…I wonder

The State of our Hearts (TFM #2)

The State of our Hearts

The Fighting Man (Part 2)

The previous article described who The Fighting Man (TFM) is and what he looks like. If you’ve yet to read it, you can find it at this link: A Drawing of The Fighting Man.

I mentioned how I had drawn out TFM on the whiteboard. This was done during a lesson about him to my two younger children. They understood the concept and we began identifying TFM within ourselves. The kids were able to look at the relationships around them and identify TFM, either in their own lives or in the lives of those they related with.

After that we progressed to the heart. Why? Because this is one of the places where it all starts. So, I drew a nice fat, pink heart on the board.

When we are born, we have pure hearts. Hearts unencumbered by pain, disappointment, abuses, humiliations, etc. Now, I’m not talking about our spiritual natures here. We are born with sinful natures. I’m talking about an intact heart.

As circumstances occur in our lives, hurts are deposited like little black marks on our hearts. If these hurts are not dealt with immediately and they continue to occur, the hurts harden into anger or resentment and the black marks grow. We now carry within us a strong feeling of displeasure, indignation or belligerence caused by this wrong.

Anger is really a secondary emotion. It may come as a result of fear, pain, humiliation, jealousy, frustration, among other emotions. Anger, if wielded unrighteously, may be displayed by a quick temper, a raised voice, lack of self-control, and even violence.

Matthew 5:21-22 The Message “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.”

If resentment or anger is left to fester, then bitterness grows those black marks on that heart a little larger.

Ephesians 4:26-27 New Living Translation And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Things are getting tough when our hearts get to this point. Walls are now erected between us and the one who continually injures us. Our hearts, blackened by bitterness, now color the rest of our lives.

What we do and say displays that bitterness, which may be manifested by:

  • irritation and a lack of patience – simple things annoy you now.
  • sarcasm – a great passive-aggressive way to get back. :0
  • negativity – you start to notice and focus on the negative aspects of people; the positive attitude is decreasing.
  • easily angered – it doesn’t take much to set you off.
  • increased fighting – this applies to people outside of the hurt relationship, too! There is an attitude of contention which explodes leaving you wondering why you reacted that way to simple situations.
  • avoidance – you run and hide or ignore the problem, pretending it’s not there; you may use escape tactics.
  • depression – the constant wear of bitterness on your heart can cause an overwhelming sadness and despair sets in.
  • intense dislike – the other person cannot possibly be any good, therefore you begin to dislike them – a lot! This may lead to dislike towards others of the same disposition.

There are many other characteristics of bitterness – but none of them are healthy, and none of them resolve the issue at all!

Your relationship with the person who has caused the hurts now has little to live on – it continues to weaken and it begins to look like there is no turning back.

If this bitterness continues without healing, then hate makes its home within you. There is now a lot of damage done to our hearts and it is reflected in the way we live our lives. Hate is the emotion that truly devastates a life and the lives around that person – unless it is dealt with. It alienates those you love and causes problems in your personal relationships with others. God is unable to use you for His Glory. The devil has you in his stronghold:

1 John 2:9-11 The Message Anyone who claims to live in God’s light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.

1 John 3:14-15 NIV We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

Powerful words there! Can you see how subtly your adversary the devil has brought you under his control?

What does a hate that drives a person’s life look like? The best way to illustrate this is by sharing with you how I got to wear every single characteristic of The Fighting *wo* Man for most of my life, because hate had taken up residence in my life… in the next article: The State of my Heart or How I Became the Fighting wo*Man*.

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