I recently dropped my sunglasses and they broke. I needed some new ones so I stopped into a store that sold them, but this particular store’s glasses were high-end sunglasses and cost more than I felt comfortable spending. But, it didn’t stop me from trying on a number of pairs. They had many different kinds of lenses that each created a different hue and look as I peered through them.
Life is like that. People observe things through many different filters. We all have our own and they have been created by life experiences. Unfortunately, too many of our filters have been created by hurt, disappointment, and having our trust broken. When that happens, it changes the lens on our heart’s eyes and we see things through filters shaped by the hurt, disappointment, and broken trust. If we see things through tainted filters, everything we see and perceive becomes slightly off.
In my first role as a Pastor at a small church, I worked for a Pastor who himself was truly broken. He had been deeply hurt over the years and it affected his lens and how he saw everything. He became somewhat callous and cynical – qualities that are not very fitting for a Pastor. He eventually became addicted to pain killers and had to leave the ministry. Prior to that time, I felt the need to step back and regroup. I felt that part of who he was had infected me. That is possible as seen in Proverbs 22:24-25 (NIV) “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.”
I stepped down from my role as a Pastor to take time to reflect on the state of my heart and to pray and seek God to make sure I was called to full-time ministry. I didn’t want to be away from attending church and so I began to attend a local church with a great reputation and growing. That Sunday, in church, as I listen to the message preached, I began to cry. I cried because the Holy Spirit began to minister to me showing me that my attitude and perspectives had become tainted. I was no longer childlike and my heart did not feel pure. I am not exaggerating when I say that every Sunday for the first six months in that church, I cried. I had no idea that attitude had gotten so far off and was disgusted with any cynicism that I saw in my heart. My filters were tainted and I could see that it affected how I perceived every aspect of life.
Finally one Sunday morning, I didn’t cry. I felt so much better. It was like an ailment that healed up and the pain was suddenly gone. I felt whole again. That week I asked if I could help out anywhere in the church as I felt healthy enough to volunteer. That eventually led to a job as an associate Pastor giving me the priviledge of helping shape a church that has grown from 600 people to over 10,000. I still love and thrive in my role today!
I assure you that what I am about to tell you is true. Hurt in your life does change your perspective and hurt your attitude. It gives you a false perspective. You are hurting and don’t realize it and think everyone else is the problem, when the problem is with you.
In the past two years, I spent time with two different men that were dealing with some discontentment with our church and in their life. In both cases, neither of them was involved serving others and giving the supply from their God-given gifting and were both lacking in meaningful relationships in the church. There were things that happened that tainted their filter and gave them a false perspective. Because of that they kept the church and the people in it at an arm’s length, and kept from being involved. In each case, I invited them to participate in a few things with me where they made some great relationships and ended up using their gifting. Before long, everything changed! They loved the church, the people, and enjoyed the sermons more than ever before. Their marriages improved, their jobs became more successful, and life was simply seen through more pure eyes.
Getting rid of old hurts, forgiving, and moving forward toward a purpose-filled life can do that. Miraculous things can happen when we follow God’s plan. Forgiving, healing,and moving forward is a part of His plan. I’ve talked with people who brag about being opinionated or cynical, or sarcastic. These are people who are hurting and I guarantee you their filters are tainted. They are affecting others when they actually think they’re funny or are helping others. One of the things I am most thankful for in life is that God did not lead me to go start a church before I had healed of my own wrong attitudes. I would have infected many and wouldn’t have known I was doing it.
Lamentations 3:22-23 Reminds us of how much we all need that mercy and how powerful and mighty it is to receive and to give in our life. It helps us start each day afresh—even when we’ve really blown it. It allows us to forgive our self and to then in turn forgive others. It says, “The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! By His mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each day.”
Putting on the right glasses with the right filter that will keep your heart pure is to live a life of overlooking offense and offering constant forgiveness and mercy. We ourselves must receive God’s mercy afresh each day.
Jeremiah 17:14 (NLT) says, “Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone.” Luke 6:37 (NLT) says, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” If you live this way, the Lord will help keep your heart right with Him and with the world around you. You’ll see the world through His eyes of love and mercy.
James 3:17-18 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is FULL of MERCY and good deeds”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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