Friday, 17 April 2009

The Disease to People-Please

An addiction is something that controls people - something they feel they cannot do without or something they do to alleviate pain or pressure. It comes in many varieties - drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, eating, work - and yes, even approval! I'm an addict - addicted to approval from others. Like any addict I look for my 'fix' when I get shaky. I'm learning over the years to stand on Eph 3:17 (Amp) - "May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love." My security has to be IN HIM, not other people.

There's no way we can escape 'pain' in life. But I'm learning it doesn't have to be wasted. After feeding the multitudes, Jesus told the disciples the gather up the leftovers "so that nothing may be lost or wasted". (John 6:12) I'm letting my pain be someone else's gain. During WW2, Corrie ten Boom and her sister were held in a horrible concentration camp named Ravensbruck. They witnessed and experienced terrible torture including starvation and nakedness in below-freezing weather. Corrie's sister actually starved to death. During their time there, they continually encouraged other prisoners and held on to their attitude of praise and thankfulness. Eventually Corrie was released through a clerical error.
After this she traveled the globe, sharing her experiences and her faithfulness in God. One night after preaching in Germany on God's forgiveness, she suddenly recognised a man approaching her. He had been a guard at Ravensbruck, and one of the men who had tortured the prisoners. Although the man didn't recognise Corrie, he knew she had been a prisoner in Ravensbruck. He said, "I was a guard there, but have since become a Christian. I know God has forgiven me for the terrible things I did, but I'm asking for your forgiveness as well."
All Corrie could see was her sister slowly starving to death and felt that she couldn't forgive this man. As she stood in front of him, she knew she must forgive him although she had no clue as to how. Everything she preached to others would be worthless if she could not forgive. She knew it would have to be an act of her will because nothing in her emotions wanted to do it. She told God, "I can lift my hand, I can do that much, but You will have to do the rest. You must supply the feelings."
As she woodenly took the man's hand, she said the power of God came rushing through her entire being, and she was able to say wholeheartedly, "I forgive you! With my whole heart I forgive you!" She said she had never known God's love as intensely as she did that moment.

The Bible says we are to be 'mindful' to be a blessing. That means having our minds full of ways we can help and encourage others. When our minds are filled like this, we discover we just don't have the time or desire to dwell on our personal problems. It then gives God the opportunity to do what He does best - work on them for us.

God made us to be a blessing. Start being what you were made to be and then we will start receiving what we are meant to receive.

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