The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of The Georgia Virtue.
By: Dr. William F. Holland Jr., minister, chaplain, and author of the column series ‘Living on Purpose’. You can read more about the Christian life and see other works by Dr. Holland at billyhollandministries.com.
There is nothing wrong with gaining earthly knowledge until it becomes more important and trustworthy than God’s will. In this life, arrogance and selfishness is the result of our fallen and depraved nature. The carnal mind controls our conscience until it is renewed through the power of the Holy Spirit. God commands that we not be conformed to the world, but to be transformed. This happens when our original spirit is changed into a new spirit which allows us to see everything the way God sees it. This is called being born again and is a gift of salvation from the one who loves us and wants to give us eternal life.
Every Christian will face spiritual warfare and we must become determined to never compromise God’s truth. We can share our convictions but since each person has free will, only God can change a heart. Instead of trying to tell everyone else how to live, maybe we should spend more time examining our hearts. We learn many things throughout our lives, but not everything we believe is true. Most of our information comes from what others have told us, and the rest from what we’ve learned through the failures and triumphs of personal experiences. The more I research, the more I discover the world is filled with deception and things are not always what they seem. I just want to make sure that my views are not distorted. Some people do not care about right and wrong as long as they have what they need to survive. Asking God for discernment also applies to family and friends and how we have formed destructive thoughts about them. It makes the situation even worse when we gossip and share our stories with others.
We have all done things good and bad that people will associate with our character. Unfortunately, many times we have also been guilty of wrongly misjudging people. Maybe we observed someone in a weak moment or heard a story about them that was skewed which caused us to form our opinions in error. Yes, we indeed need to watch how we act and what we say, as we remember not to form our views about an individual based on a few glimpses of their actions. Jesus calls for us to forgive everyone and have more understanding and compassion because we all have our times of weakness and make a lot of mistakes. How many times have we acted ugly and given someone a bad first impression of us? The consequences we all must be accountable for is that even when we ask God to help us forgive, it is nearly impossible to forget.
We are quick to make our case when someone offends us and wanting revenge is common. Many are more than willing to discard a relationship and in some cases even if it’s nothing more than a rumor. We seldom consider that as we are burning bridges, others are doing the same to us. The wounded soul must be repaired like a fractured bone. We cannot proceed in our inner healing without spiritual realignment and as God heals us we must also forgive ourselves. Everyone is born needing to be rescued from sin and the blood of Jesus is the only ransom. Until we receive God’s love and forgiveness, we are unable to know the true meaning and purpose of life. God is truth and the only way for us to know God’s truth is to know Him. I have seen many who have everything life can offer and yet are miserable because they did not have the presence of Jesus dwelling within their heart and mind.
As adults, we are convinced we can handle our negative emotions. We learn to hide the pain as we try to heal ourselves and manage our hatred for all the bad things we have experienced. The agony of enduring the daily grind can twist in knots and is not a place of joy or contentment. It’s heartbreaking to know that many individuals live as a prisoner because they refuse to forgive. Bitterness can take root within the heart and cause us to be incarcerated with misery and depression. However, there is good news when we accept the love of Jesus as the key to genuine peace and happiness. We are reminded in
John 8:31-32, where Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”