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A hard pill to swallow

 Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:18)

We have a lot of things in this life that we 'seek', but not all of them are to be 'attained' - especially when the thing we seek is revenge. God wants us to know there is but one who 'metes out' justice. The issue with 'revenge' when we seek it or take it - we aren't 'portioning out' justice - we are concerned with ensuring the individual we have issue with receives a portion of not so great stuff! Bearing a grudge is a very easy thing and it is a more common occurrence with our peers than we may realize. Why? We haven't learned to let go when we feel we have been 'wronged' by another. It could be we 'feel' we are 'deserved' a different outcome, but if we hold onto what we 'feel' at that moment, we open the doorway to bitterness developing a stronghold. This is why God warns his people very early on in their relationship with him - don't seek revenge - let go of the wrongs done against you.

Love your neighbor - we have to be told this, but do we have to be told to love ourselves? Sometimes we need to hear both because we have not developed a great sense of 'liking' ourselves. If you struggle to 'like' some part of your character, you are not alone. Many have something in their character that 'bugs' them a bit - from their quickness to jump to conclusions to something within their appearance. How can these things keep us from loving our neighbor? If we are honest, we are critical of the things in others that we see as flaws in our own character, or else we become disgruntled that another is 'better' in some sense than we see ourselves.

You and I bring those things to Christ and he reminds us we are made in his image. To some, that is a hard pill to swallow - because we see those things that 'bug us' and we don't understand how he brings anything good out of them. When I learned I could take my tendency to be fearful of those things I don't fully appreciate in my character and turn them into kind ways of helping others, I realized Christ could use those things. I found I didn't need to be sarcastic as a means to 'cover up' flaws in my character because when I am, I negate the good work God wants to do in that area as he works to bring beauty out of ashes in that area of my life.

Next time you begin to consider the things in your character that aren't exactly as 'good' as you'd like them to be, take them to Jesus instead of finding fault in others who reveal that same character in themselves. In time, you will come to see what God is doing in you and guess what - - - he is probably doing something similar in those others who bug you with very similar character flaws. God isn't going to exact revenge - he is going to show us and those others how his justice brings out the best in each of us. Love him first, then let him show you how to love others as we come to love ourselves "IN HIM". Just sayin!

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