Take a Different View - Getting Rid of Grudges

A friend posted on FB:
Grudges are heavy burdens to carry in life. Time to give them up or put them down ... : )
It triggers some thought on how to get rid of grudges.

In life, we will encounter many events that we feel we are unjustly treated and even betrayed by people. Sometimes those people are our friends, or people we have helped in the past, people that should repay us with good deeds, but instead sabotaged and did us in! It is especially painful. We are really challenged to practice "love your enemy" when the "enemy is someone who had fed at your table". They, supposedly Christians, resorted to tactics and methods condemned as evil in the Bible while we had to respond with the love, righteous and the above board methods of the biblical values that we believed in.

What can we do to put down our grudges?

1. Get or See Your Blessings:
The way to put down our grudges is to see and receive a greater love and blessings. When we are contented, grateful and joy filled, we can let go of many things. 

2. See a Higher Purpose:
Another way is to see a higher purpose, a greater cause than ourselves. Compared to the greater cause, our grudges look like pettiness and we will be ashamed to hold on to them.
3. Focusing on Jesus:
When the bible teaches us to focus on Jesus. It is not about looking at Jesus' face only. But to see the love and the purpose that the face triggered. Recall that 
  • He dies for our sins when we were yet His enemies;  
  • when we did Him in with our behavior that bring shame to His name. 
  • He love them til the end, even the Judas that betrayed Him.  
For our rebellious acts and hurts that we bring to Him, He adopted us to be His children, and to give us an inheritance of God. The inheritance will one day be fully revealed and received on earth. 

We are given the higher purpose of telling this extreme love story to others - to the ones that don't know Jesus yet and to our fellow brothers who has yet to learn to trust on God rather than self, that they all may come to receive and experience the true love of Christ. You may feel that Christ' love to too abstract and too distance in this time of suffering and betrayal, but meditating on it, and speaking to God through His Holy Spirit will help and give you the warm and peace that you need. Don't focus on the grudged and what they should have done, but know that your Heavenly Father know about your situations and will help you through and bring you to greater height.

4. Jesus is still the Lord and will vindicate you one day.
Finally, if we can't see anything, at least bite your teeth and hold on to the very basic truth that God is in charge and Jesus is Lord and He will uphold the justice for you and vindicate you.... just you wait! Read Malachi 3:16-18 and Mal 4:2.


Freedom - From "Freedom From" to "Freedom For" & In

Tomorrow is our Friday Bible Study Group meeting and we shall be discussing Bible Study 1Peter Chapter 2 Life of A Believer. 

In going through the note, I found an interesting statement under section Believers' Conduct - We Do & We Do Not para 1.6
live as freed from sin and free to serve God v16
The original verse is 1 Pet 2:16 As free, and not using [your] liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

We have been over stressing the "freedom from sins" part and under-stressing the "Freedom to glorify God" part. We spent too much time seeing freedom from restrictions rather than freedom for worthwhile goals and things.

In the Chinese Classics, the teaching have been very positive oriented. It covers much much more on what the 'saints' or 'sages' should do and very little on what the "little man" or "inferior man" does. There is a constant call to excel in character development, to follow the Way of Heaven, and to live in Harmony with God, Earth and Man. See for example Understanding Chinese in One Minute.

The Bible actually has more to say on what we must do vs what we must not do as new believers in Christ. Just take this chapter 1Peter 2 as an example. There are 25 verses. I can count v1, 8, 11 and may be 25 as mentioning sins. 4 out of 25!

Or if you take my study note, the "we are" and "we do" have 19 points versus the "we do not" of 6 points (5 points comes from breaking up verse 1).

Freedom from sins, from restrictions has no forward movement unless that is a good cause for the freedom FOR. For gives us the motivational push.  FROM is just a release of loads. See Christian Transformation & Growth.

Hence, let us concentrate on telling fellow believers about who they are in Christ and the good behavior that they should exhibit. We have already been 'freed from' sins and hence let us move on to 'freedom for' and in the the fellowship of the Light and Love.

Related post on Freedom:


Reflections on Chinese New Year - Trust & Fret Not

In Chinese New Year, we clean up the house, clear the past debts, have a new start, put on new clothes, visit relatives, say very nice wishes and put up a good show.
Here are some good things about the New Year:
  1. Bring a closure to all outstanding issues.
    In Chinese traditions, all debts are to be cleared. We don't want to start a new year with carried over debts and burden. For believers, let us also bring closures to spiritual and emotional issues besides the physical ones. Let go of our bitterness, make sure our forgiveness is complete and break any strings attached to past bad behaviors by looking and focus on the next thing - the New Hope. Only when an issue is closed, will it not affect us again.
  2. New Hope or New Vision.
    Have a positive outlook for the year. Seriously consider the good wishes received. Internalize them. If man wishes to be that consider how your Heavenly Father wanted you to be. The most famous New Year wish among the Chinese is about Prosperity - fa cai 恭喜发财. But prosperity is just abundance in materials possessions. Life is much more than material well-being. Another one that I preferred is "Everything according to your wish 万事如意" or simply "May your wishes come true".  Ps 37:4 shows us the secret. "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart". It is important to make sure our wishes are from or agree with God and that will surely bring forth the true blessings. (Prov 10:22) ​​​​​​​​The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.

  3. Physical Reinforcement of Inner Attitude.
    Cleaning house, wearing new dress and shoes are all a reflection of inner newness of life. It could work the other way round as well. Putting on new things causes our spirit to be uplifted. You don't have to choose which is better. Do both. Let the newness of the spirit be shown and let the new things reinforce our inner joy and confidence.
  4. Relationships.
    A great thing in Chinese New Year is the many visitations that re-connect relationships. In the busyness of daily work, we may neglect friends and relatives. It is a good time to take a break and put in the effort to visit them and renew relationships.
  5. Respect.
    Visitations are done according to 'rank' or 'elderliness' in the family and/or relatives. It is a reminder for us to respect our elders and to appreciate their care and bringing-up of us. Even Elders who did nothing or were even bad to us in our growing up days, paying them respect is a reflection of our character and not of theirs. We are children of God and hence should behave like our Heavenly Father.

  6. Trust and Fret Not - Psalm 37
    In our visits of one another, we will come across those that are of higher social and economic status than us. There would be story telling and perhaps gossips. There could be those who gain riches in some short-cut ways and even at our expense. The world tries to tempt us to take short-cuts, stepping on others if needed, to gain riches and success. Those of us who are God honoring in doing the right things seems to be left out in the cold in this big rush for riches. But God gave us Ps 37 to remind and encourage us.
Reflections on Psalm 37
I felt the need to share this Psalm 37. It is a relatively long one of 40 verses. But we could just read the first 10 verses. The other are reinforcements.

Fret Not v1,7

We are to fret not or be envious of the apparent success and riches of the short-cut takers.

Why Not? 
  1. Them: Because their sins will discover them and they will loose all and be gone. v2,
  2. Us: Our anger or envy will cause to do things that are evil - either to become like them in taking short-cuts or just go into self-pity and angry mode and thereby stopping us from doing the useful and right things.
How to Handle it?
  1. We are just to TRUST and continue to do Good (right).v3,5
  2. If there be any bending to do, bend not our integrity but bend our desires so that we may just follow that of the Lord. v4
  3. Wait patiently for Him to promote us.  v7. See Joy in the Meantime- How to Really Wait
  4. We shall live to see the their down fall v10
The Promise & Assurance
  1. The the Lord will truly fulfill these God pleasing desires of us. v4,5
  2. We shall dwell in the land and be fed v3
  3. Our true righteous success will shine out brightly. v6
  4. We shall inherit the earth v9
Don't be concerned about the seemingly success and riches of others, rejoice with the truly successful, and just be concerned with the plan of God for you. Trust in the Lord, commit to Him, do the things according to His commandments, focus with confidence on Him, wait wisely and see the great outcome of God's true blessings in this coming year.


Chinese Year of the Rabbit and Biomimicry

Learning Values from the Animals and Start Making Changes for a God Blessed New Year 2011
I mentioned Biomimicry in my last post, Eat, Drink & Enjoy - A Reflection on Sunday's Chinese New Year Message. It was an extreme way of looking at Biomimicry in medicines and health. It was about eating the right animal organs to supplement the corresponding human organ's function. The generally accepted meaning of Biomimicry is learning and adopting the behavior of the living things into the human world for creating innovations that brings value, and especially in the area of creating a sustainable eco-systems.

The Chinese has, a long time ago, practiced this kind of Biomimicry - learning from the animal. It was wisely and widely diffused in the Chinese culture through of use Chinese Zodiac sign. Instead of teaching the less educated to learn to read, it is much easier to use signs, of animals, to tell about the year and time. 12 Animals are used with one for each year. Starting with rat, then ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, roster, dog and pig.  ( I recently got to know that the Vietnamese uses Cat in place of Rabbit). The behavior of the animal is used to characterize the fortune for the year (part of a more complex system of 5 elements, 10 heaven trunks and 12 earth branches and others) and also about the character of the person born in the year. The strengths and weaknesses of animal is an exhortation for the people. I think it is a pretty smart. It is a low-cost yet highly effective way of teaching moral values to the mass of people. Let me add that I don't believe in Zodiac signs, neither character based on Zodiac signs, nor any form of fortune telling. This post is about Biomimicry.

Learning from Rabbits - Watchfulness, Carefulness & Agility
What can we learn from Rabbits? I think it is their watchfulness(alertness), carefulness and agility. They are always scanning the environment (blessed with long large ears, far distance eye-sight, sensitive sense of smell, day and night vision), extremely cautious (a nice way of saying they are timid) , and agile with powerful hind legs for speed. When encountering attackers, they also warn others by stamping on the ground.

There are more in the Animal Signs. They are about balanced values, see my post on Complementary Values from Chinese Zodiac Signs.

Eagle - Vision
Our Bible also uses animals to teach us about behavior. The famous one that is preached frequently is about the Eagle*1. We are to learn from the Eagle about having higher vision, soaring higher, effortless flight through the air by riding on the air currents, rejuvenation of youth by breaking their peaks and pulling out their feathers, and the training of the young by dropping them from great height and enabling them to try to fly by themselves etc.

Other AnimalsThere are other animals covered in Prov 30:25-31 [There are some differences among the translations]
  1. The ants [are] a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
    Teaching: plans for the future. hardworkingness.
  2. The conies [are but] a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
    Teaching: audacity in overcoming adversity.
  3. The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
    Teaching: unity, communication, self-directed management
  4. The spider/lizard taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.
    Teaching: survivability, viral diffusion, globalization.
  5. A lion [which is] strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;
    Teaching: courage, strength, stately appearance,
  6. A greyhound/strutting rooster; hunting and strength for the hound and Leadership and consistency from the rooster.
  7. he-goat also;courageous executions
    (The lion, rooster, he-goat are named together with the King for their stateliness in v29 and I think that they stand for leadership)
Putting Them to Work
What can we learn from the above set of values from the animals? For the vision that you set for this coming new year, which values are most relevant to realizing the vision?

Knowing the relevant key values is just the first step. We must convert the values into policies and practices. We must refer to them when we make our decisions.

Let say we pick the Rabbit's agility, a very important value in today's rapid changing world, then we must put in place a system to scan the environment for changes in trends that are of importance to us. Furthermore, we must re-examine our ability to react to the change our situation. Are we assets light? Are our assets mobile or liquidable and be readily redeployable? Are there things in business, or emotional baggage in our private life, bad habits that tied us down and make us unresponsive?

Have a good reflection and start making changes for having a God blessed new year.

Note *1 We are encouraged to be like the Eagle and not the Hen. It is typical of common preachers to overstress the strength or usefulness of a particular thing. The truth is that we need to have both and the strength or weakness is dependent on the situation.

Lim Liat Copyrighted 2011