It is interesting how we often imprison ourselves with subtle anger. One of such is criticism that we hold in our hearts. Recently, I found myself a little troubled by someone who is picking the speck in my eye, while harbouring a log in the person's eye. Due to this, I am more hung up by the person's attitude rather than the content of the criticism. The irony is rationally I know the fact that I am bothered is because I am holding a criticism (a judgement; a condemnation) against this person. In doing so, I imprisoned myself. Emotionally, I just cannot let go.
Asher (my husband) asked me, "What does it take for you to let go?" "A night of sleep." was my answer. He laughed and responded, "But you slept, and now is 2 days 1 night since." Still caging myself after 2 nights' sleep, I called a friend and she suggested we pray. In her prayer, I began letting go when she mentioned, "Our God, we thank you that you show us our sins as we notice another's." However, to be honest, it is not entirely over.
I am amazed how God does not allow me to imprison myself. This morning, while listening to a sermon on Matthew 7:1-6, the pastor's prayer shook me, "Father (in heaven), we are so grateful for Your goodness and Your mercy, that can take a person who is condemned and transform us to a child of God. Can take a critical spirit and transform it to a heart of compassion. Can change our criticisms into words of affirmation and encouragement. Help us to radically change ourselves to demonstrate the compassion of Christ. In Jesus' name we pray, amen."
I broke down and cried. I saw myself in a condemned cell, a person awaiting final punishment and how God transformed me into His child, enjoying all the abundance as a child of God. (Today, I could even have the privilege to lead worship, share His message and have His presence with me continually.) If God would save me while I was condemned, why can't I also extend mercy. I don't think I have completely let go, but with my focus on His compassion for me, I think I am more able to let go.
Are you imprisioned today by unforgiveness towards someone or your criticism against someone? Would you release yourself? If you find it difficult like I do, call out to God and He will help you. In the meantime, be patient Let us live in freedom as a child of God today and everyday.
P.S. (just to explain some terminologies of my reflection)
I am a sinner saved by grace. I was a condemned person because of my sins and no amount of good works is sufficient to save me from my eventual punishment. But God in His compassion sent Jesus, Son of God, to die on the cross for my sins and rose to life on the third day to demonstrate His power over death. As I believe and accept Jesus, God gave me the right to become His child. I have been enjoying the privilege of living as His child for 28 years now. Thankful.