Finally time

Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good. If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. It is written, Revenge belongs to me; I will pay it back, says the Lord. Instead, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this, you will pile burning coals of fire upon his head. Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)

The "payback" for some of our misdeeds or meddling into affairs we should have left alone may be coming! I have learned that payback is really not something I like or want! When I stop going where I shouldn't, others might stop going where they shouldn't. Why do they stop? They no longer have to "pay back" the misdeeds of others. I think God wants us to engage in active forgiveness, and allow him to be in control when things are spinning way out of our own sphere of influence.

Some of us have not learned to let go of stuff, doing what I refer to as "gunny-sacking" the hurts and misdeeds of others until we "need" them someday in the future to really "repay them". It is like we have this "sack" we might label our "revenge rucksack". We pack it so full of the things people say, do, and even don't have a clue they have said or done which hurt us, leave us disappointed, or just plain did in an unthinking moment. Then one day that "perfect" moment comes when we will "unload" the sack of stuff - putrid from sometimes years of decay within our "rucksack"! What a mess this creates in relationships. It is God's intent for us to not just empty the rucksack, but to completely remove it from our shoulders, hands, and possession! But...the emptying process is never to be on others...it is to be at the foot of the cross.

We will always be in contact with others who just don't see things as we do. This is life. You might expect me to say we need to learn to "deal with it" to the best of our abilities, but herein is where we find ourselves pulling out the rucksack and "packing for the trip". We need to learn not to "deal with it" ourselves, but allow God to deal with it! If we do this, we find ourselves not needing the rucksack in the first place! If you think of the purpose of a rucksack, it is designed for the shoulders, to be slung across the back of the one bearing the load within.  Rucksack is a German term meaning bag for the back. So, in essence, when we put things into our "rucksack", we are bearing the burden of the hurt they are causing on our own shoulders. It becomes the load which often breaks our backs because we weren't meant to actually bear up under that load in the first place!

The idea of "remaining current" is when we deal with the hurts of today, so they don't become the disappointments we nurse well into the future. Take just a few moments to step back, consider the perspective of the other person, and realize they probably didn't intend to come across the way they did, or didn't even realize they did what they did. At other times, we need to talk things out and get things in the open so they can be dealt with. Either way, we eliminate the tendency to store up stuff in our rucksack of revenge! The bitterness created by "housing" all those memories and hurts inside the sack just allows them to get all jumbled together and messed up. Eventually we won't be able to distinguish one "issue" from another because they are all "tainted" by the other! What comes out is a mess of bitter and disgusting thoughts, words, and deeds. What we are asked to do is trust God to "deal with" the other individual in the way he sees fit. God may convict them with his kindness, or he may bring a little displeasure their way - that is his business and totally his "purview". We need to leave this in his hands. When we do, we walk away without a burden on our shoulders we weren't meant to bear up under in the first place. It is time to finally ditch the rucksack!  Just sayin!

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