Let’s just get right into today’s Lent Devotional for Women. How many of us have family, spouses, children, friends, co-workers–bosses, pretty much anyone we come in contact with–who don’t understand our pain and suffering? It’s like they’re not even aware of the pain and turmoil we’re in at certain times! The nerve right?!!?
At times, when we are feeling interiorly distraught, anyone who has any sense could see we’re externally distraught, right? I mean our hair is a mess, our roots are dark (or white), our eyes are puffy, our eyebrows and lip need to be waxed, we’ve lost weight (or gained)…what’s a person got to do to get some attention in those times? Sweat blood for goodness sake!? Ahhh…
These times when we’re drowning, sucking air, whatever the cliche is, can make us want to yell, “What is the matter with you people! Are you sleeping or something!”
You know this Lenten devotional is headed to the Garden right? When Our Lord’s agony was so great He sweat blood.
There are stories of saints and sinners being crucified–some exactly like Our Lord and some in a slightly different manner, but how many stories have we ever heard of someone sweating blood? I’ve only heard one, the agony of Jesus.
If, when Our Lord is sweating blood, those closest to Him were sleeping, how can we expect those closest to us to be wide awake, on the watch, and completely aware of what’s going on with us?
It’s not like too many of us are off by ourselves in a dark garden. Most of us are still doing all the things: work, laundry, dishes, carpool, etc. We may not be doing them well, but we are still attempting them. For so many people, it’s business as usual even though they feel like they are dying a little each day inside.
So what happens when we’re in the thick of it and it seems those closest to us aren’t paying attention? We can start to get resentful. Sounds like this reflection might be looping back around to considering friendship huh?
Here’s the hard truth, we could be the Son of God, in agony, before our crucifixion to save the world, and sweating blood–and some people wouldn’t recognize our suffering. Now, what are we going to do with that fact?
We really only have two options when it feels like our friends and family aren’t paying attention to our sufferings: we can forgive or we can hold to it.
Dare to take a guess which one hurts us the most? What about which one hurts the other person the most? What about which one offends God the most?
I read an interesting article the other day, I choose not to be offended, and you should, too. In it, the author states, “Unfortunately, picking at scabs has become a national pastime. Americans have lost their ability to shrug off other people’s obnoxious comments or insensitive gestures or politically incorrect views. Instead of rolling their eyes and letting it pass, they proclaim: “I’m offended.”” (Oh!My!Goodness! That article was written in 2016! Wonder what the author thinks now?)
The author goes on to quote from a psychiatrist who treats alcoholics stating, “…resentments are probably the single greatest factor responsible for relapse.” And what is the oft-quoted Pinterest graphic? “Resentment or holding a grudge is like drinking poison and then waiting for the other person to die.”
If there was ever a soul in this world who could have gone to the grave–or cross in Jesus’ case, with a list of grievances and offenses, it was Our Lord.
Let’s stop and consider this, how bad was the offense that sparked our resentment? And let me clarify quickly, we can be resentment-free over a person and situation and still choose to not have contact with them. That doesn’t mean we haven’t forgiven so please don’t confuse the two.
Here are a couple of questions to ask ourselves when we’re thinking about a person or situation that we just can’t seem to let go of:
Is this offense greater than what our Lord suffered?
Is holding on to it benefiting us in any way?
Is holding on to a resentment giving the offender his just punishment?
Is holding on to this grudge helping me grow in closer friendship with God?
Is it worth taking to the grave?
More Lent Devotional for Women posts.