Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Acid Corrodes the Vessel

Psalm 35:1-10 (NRSV)

God is our salvation

Come on! Tell the truth! Have you ever prayed a prayer like this? I know I have. So I’ll just “tell the truth and shame the devil.” I’ve prayed that God would get my enemies. I’ve prayed that God would pay them back for hurting me. I’ve prayed that God would grant them failure. I know. Doesn’t sound so holy, huh? But, I’ve done it.

See, like you, I’m human and as humans we are capable of very strong emotion. There are days when we are happy and days when we are sad, when our relationships work out and when they fail miserably, when it seems like everyone is rooting for us and when it seems everyone is out to get us.

We tend to remember the bad days, the hurt, the betrayal, and the failure. We hold those days close to our hearts finding it hard to forgive and impossible to forget. I remember when I was a little girl my mama would say to me, “Acid corrodes the vessel.” What she meant is that when we hold rage and unforgiveness in our hearts, it doesn’t hurt the person we are angry with, it hurts us! We get a headache. We get a stomach ulcer. We find it hard to trust new friends and new opportunities.

But, here is the GOOD NEWS! God is our salvation! God sees when we are oppressed unfairly. God knows when we have been attacked without cause. God is observant when someone sets out to hurt our feelings. And God is able to salve our wounded hearts and spirits, give us the courage and wisdom to righteously resist oppression, whilst simultaneously working to soften the hearts of our enemies so that they too might know God’s love and God’s salvation.

See, God provides us the perfect example of how to love into a life full of forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Jesus, who was the perfect manifestation of love and who did no wrong, was tried as a common criminal and then sentenced to capital punishment by way of the cross. There has never been a more unfair and unjust sentence, yet from the cross he cried, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!”

This is GOOD NEWS! For truly all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I have hurt people and so have you. Others have hurt us; it is part of the human condition. We sin. We fall down. But, we must get up again! God is our salvation and God will give us everything that we need to boldly love our neighbors as ourselves.

Who do you need to offer an apology or forgiveness to today?

Eternal God, in the name of Jesus, I confess to you that I am harboring unforgiveness in my heart. Please help me to follow your loving example by extending love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace to others. Your love has changed my heart and I pray that it will change the heart of my enemies as well. This is GOOD NEWS! Help me to radically share it with others. Amen.

*The entire scripture reading for today can be found by clicking the ELCA Daily Bible Reading Tab to the right.

*from Pastor Yolanda's blog

*Do you have one friend in need of GOOD NEWS? To share today's devotional click "Share With Friends" button to the right! Thanks for reading and please come again.


  1. Amen my sister -- love the haters - it blesses you and and they become less important and more impotent! :) thanks for sharing!

  2. So, if one still feels pain from an experience of betrayal or hurt, does it always mean there's unforgiveness there? Can it also just be an internalized wound, in need of healing, that is separate from the perpetrator? What's your take on this, Yolanda?

  3. Pastor Yolanda's response to GYW:

    I think it is natural and normal to still feel pain after a betrayal or a hurt. We are human. It doesn't necessarily mean you haven't forgiven the person; it just means that they need to earn your trust again through a change in their behavior that restores your confidence in the relationship.

    I believe that you can forgive without necessarily subjecting yourself to further abuse. You can pray for--and love--the one who has harmed you (from a far if necessary). God wants us to be safe in body, mind, and spirit.

    This puts me in the mind of women who experience domestic violence or people of color who experience ongoing and blatant racism. In these cases you may need to pray and love from afar because the person who has harmed you is unrepentant and because the situation is unsafe.

    Having said all this, I think it is imperative to make sure that once you forgive--whether from near or far--you make every effort not to let the hurt fester. This is where "acid corrodes the vessel" comes in. You want to pray that God will restore you completely and return you to wholeness.

    God bless you and I pray that this will help.

  4. This was for me Soror. God bless you!!