Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Have you ever carried a heavy weight of sadness, or anger, or perhaps hurt feelings toward someone, and you just could not face them, or talk to them about it? That can be one of the most difficult things one can experience. You just can’t get relief from the heavy burden of a broken relationship, whether it was your fault or that person’s fault, it does not matter, the brokenness is there to stay until it can be lifted off of your shoulders.
I have had only one of those experiences in my lifetime. I had been hurt mentally and emotionally by a person in one of the congregations I served. That individual insisted on blaming me for just about anything that he could think of every time we had a council meeting. I never knew what he would blame on me next until he did it in a council meeting. It was so frustrating because he would not talk with me one-on-one so we could deal with his issues.
On one occasion he asked when I was planning on retiring, and that really surprised me. I began to pray to God to help me know how to respond to his anger. Later I learned that he had grown up in a church that did not ordain women clergy, which explained a lot about his attitude toward me as a pastor.
After I left that congregation two years later and began interim ministry where I served another four years before retiring, I was still holding on to hard feelings toward that person. I attended a spiritual direction retreat for pastors and one of the speakers talked about forgiveness, and how healing it is. My mind and heart was finally open to go down that trail, and as a result I poured my heart out to God, and I asked Jesus to take that burden from me.
I felt so free, so relieved, and so open to listen to God speak to me. When the retreat was over I spent another two weeks praying and asking God to help me know how to approach that person and tell him I forgave him and ask for his forgiveness. When I went to him and shared with him my own forgiveness of him and asked him to forgive me of anything that I had done, or failed to do, to not bring the love of Christ into his life, he then shared something he had been fighting in himself having to do with his family and a co-worker of his. His burden was ever as heavy as mine.
That day we both got a taste of the peace that Jesus brings when we turn our burdens over to him.
I learned to turn loose of hard feelings, ask for forgiveness and to forgive those who hurt me, and I marvel at how easy it was to give my burdens to Jesus. While I was carrying that burden around I was miserable, and when I finally turned loose of it, I felt a ton of guilt, sadness, disappointment and animosity gone. Jesus took it all, and I say to you if you are holding a grudge, take it to Jesus. He is a load lifter with grace and mercy.
- Have you ever been hurt by someone and you never forgave them?
- Will you open your heavy heart to Jesus and pour out your soul so that he can give you peace?
- Will you give your anger, hurt, or bad feelings about another person to Jesus so he can give you his loving mercy, forgiveness and peace?
Eric is our current Webmaster and works on the NLS Communications Team. Raised in Judaism, he found Christ and the New Testament at age 16 in a Southern Baptist Church. He searched many denominations for the real church, only to find the Holy Spirit is present in all of them. He's worked for One for Israel, a group of native Israeli believers who are sharing the gospel in the holy land in Hebrew and is part of the only Hebrew speaking seminary in Israel.