Scorn – Hidden Source of Contention

Over this past year or so several words have taken on new significance in my understanding.  Recently the word “scorn” took my attention and I am surprised how significant this topic may be in daily life.  So let me unpack it a little for you.

The key verse that brought ‘scorn’ into focus for me is Proverbs 22:10…

“Cast out the scorner, and contention will exit; yes, strife and reproach will cease.”

Here I saw a key link between scorn and ‘contention’.

Many homes live under the weight of contention so scorn could prove to be very relevant.

Previously I linked contention with pride, because of Proverbs 13:10…

Only by pride comes contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”

Scorn is another piece of the contention puzzle.

Contention is linked to scorners and also to pride.  So scorn must be an expression of pride.

Scorn includes contempt, disrespect, disapproval, criticism, dislike, derision, indignation and disdain.

The link to pride probably sits with the scorner feeling a sense of elevation or superiority over the one scorned (that’s pride) so they judge the failings or poor qualities of the one scorned.

So scorn blocks forgiveness, because the scorner is not looking to act humbly or in good faith, but to serve their pride.

The scorner takes a place of pride and superiority over the one who is scorned so they do not adopt a posture of grace and forgiveness.

If there is contention in your home or your relationships you can be sure there is pride and scorn.

Many years ago my marriage was under great strain.  I had offended Susan by my persistence to achieve a goal, without seeming to care for her struggles in the process.  For many months our relationship was strained and I found Susan difficult to relate to.  All that time she struggled with feelings of offence, knowing her attitude was not right but not able to break free from it.

Late one night we were finally able to talk about the tensions and Susan poured out her string of hurts and feelings of offence caused by my actions.

All I could do was admit that I had burt her and ask her forgiveness.  Then the way forward was in her hands, not mine.  I said to her, “You know what you have to do.”  We were well aware of the need to forgive offenders in order to come to freedom ourselves.

Susan said she already knew she had to forgive me.  She was struggling to do so.

When she got to it, Susan’s forgiveness took only a few moments to say but it changed the atmosphere completely and set our relationship free to blossom again.  The impact was profound, even though the forgiveness process was almost momentary.

Think about your situation.

Is there contention, strife or reproach in your relationships?

Does the contention and strife settle down when someone else leaves the room, or when YOU leave the room?  Who is the ‘scorner’ in your situation?

Do you face contention and strife in many of your relationships?

Are you sitting in judgement of others, elevating yourself in pride, thinking you have the right to hold them in contempt, disapproval and indignation?

If you take the place of ‘judge’ over others God will judge you severely and one of the judgments is that God cuts you off from the benefit due to you through those you despise, which could even be your spouse and family.

And consider another verse about ‘scorn’, the very first verse of the Book of Psalms.

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1:1

The ungodly walk, sinner stand, and scorners sit.  Scorners make themselves comfortable in their place of scorn, pride and judgement of others.  They probably affirm their right to stay in that seat of judgement through all manner of justifications and fault-finding.

If you are a scorner you are probably very inflexible and slow to come around to grace and forgiveness.

If this touches you in some way then please take a lesson from my lovely wife and get out of that seat of scorn into the wonderful freedom that grace and forgiveness pour down upon us.

Resentment Revisited 2

This is the second part of an article exposing our human tendency to withhold forgiveness and to allow resentment, bitterness and anger to rule our hearts. (see below for links to the first 2 articles on Resentment: Resolving Resentment and Resentment Revisited)

Our human heart objects to forgiving others and relies on several tricks to excuse its unforgiveness.  One trick is to give partial forgiveness and then stop forgiving, as if you now have a right to be hard hearted, because you have already shown grace.

We saw that resentments come from our unresolved issues of the past, where withholding forgiveness makes issues out of those things we hold onto.  Now let’s look at another source of resentments.

The Way I Want It

Another source of resentments is our selfish desire to have things our way.  We all want to be loved, valued and appreciated, and we all want to have an easy life if we can get it.

Once we have determined the way we want things to be we can easily fall into resentment of those who upset our plans, block fulfilment of our will and so on.

If we don’t get the attention we want from family, spouse or friends we can become resentful.

If our spouse and family continually frustrate our hopes and dreams we can become resentful.

If our personal capacities let us down we can resent ourself and even resent God for making us with such limitations.

If you want peace and quiet you will resent those who take it from you.  If you want lots of intimacy, you will resent the spouse that is not interested.  If you want to live in a big house you will resent those that obstruct that objective.  If you want to be the centre of attention you will resent those you must compete with and those who don’t value you as much as you want.

“We weren’t supposed to start a family so quickly.”  “I wasn’t counting on your health being such a problem.”  “I didn’t expect your family to be so interfering.”  “Why don’t people just leave me in peace?”  “I really thought you were going to make something of yourself.”  “I never expected you to be so much like your mum.”  “I thought I could trust you to make wise decisions but you just keep messing things up.”

How do you like things to be?  Do your spouse and family frustrate your hopes and dreams?  Have you forgiven them yet or are you carrying resentment toward them?

It Is Not Fair

Justice issues are another interesting area of resentment.  Are you intolerant of injustice?  Such intolerance appears to be very noble, but you may actually be a slave to bitterness.

I have seen people get on their high horse, as the expression has it, and go charging into a situation in defence of justice.  They are incensed by something they will not let pass: someone wrongly judged; someone not sharing properly; selfishness displayed; or whatever.  The justice champion cannot but dive into the situation and berate the offender.

A common expression of this motivation is the “It’s not fair!” claim so readily heard from the mouth of children.  What they are really saying is, “I’m offended by that”.

A wise parent teaches a child that life is not fair and that each of us must respond to our situations with godly character, grace and faith.  In the absence of such wisdom children learn to fight about the matter of fairness and become demanding, intolerant, hyper-sensitive and so on.

Don’t be fooled by your noble and righteous indignation at those who are selfish, arrogant, loud, exploitative, thoughtless or whatever.  I dare suggest that your reactions are evidence of issues you have not resolved, rather than a divine calling to right the wrongs on earth.

Cleaning the Garage

As I visited friends a few weeks ago I saw their neighbour trying to clean out her garage.  The mother of the family directed the exercise and her tone and demands clearly indicated that she was driving the project and had little trust in getting the help she needed voluntarily.

She shouted like a sergeant-major and found fault with the efforts of her husband and teenage son.  Within half an hour the husband drove off at high speed, revving his motor in what seemed to be a show of machismo, as if to say he is a real man and not really dominated by his wife.  The husband did not return until the whole ordeal was well over.  Several hours later the woman was still scolding the children helping her.  She was on a crusade and it sounded like a dreaded ordeal for all involved.

She probably had very good reasons to act as she did.  Her husband probably lets her down repeatedly.  Her children probably resent being recruited into her projects and subjected to her ugly attitude and tone.  It is probably a toxic experience for everyone.

And that’s consistent with the warning in Hebrews.  If you allow a root of bitterness to grow inside you then many people will be defiled (Hebrews 12:15 ).  In fact, the whole process gets poisoned.

And in such a case it is probably impossible to imagine handling the situation differently, without any resentment, but with plenty of grace.

Resentment Free

If all resentment was removed and thorough forgiveness given then there would be no hurt, disappointment, frustration, shame or similar negatives in the way of getting the job done.

In such a case a happy discussion and negotiation could be explored to see how best to achieve the objective.  Where disagreement exists then godly wisdom can be applied to come to a gracious agreement that does not grow a crop of bitterness.

Accusations and vilifications would not occur.  Despairing thoughts and emotional outbursts would not be part of the process.  Any ruffled feathers would be soon smoothed over by finding God’s grace and keeping that grace as the key quality of the whole exchange.

Manipulation would not be resorted to, nor taking command of the lives of others so as to squeeze from them the required obedience.

And I think to myself (to quote a line from a song), “What a wonderful world!

How Else

Many a frustrated person will protest by asking, “If I don’t get angry and let people know how they let me down, how can I get them to do the right thing?”

I fully sympathise with the question, but please stop a moment and consider its implications.

The only mechanism you have developed in order to get things done to your satisfaction is an evil and toxic mechanism.  You are highly unqualified to lead any project at all if your skill set is limited to anger and abuse.  Rather than being a person of grace who can bless, train and lead others, you are so limited that your only powertool is toxic treatment of others.  You are actively sowing poison into others in order to get your will followed.

And who is to say your ideas of the “right thing” are correct?  If you have to contend with people to get them to fit in with your idea of what is right, then maybe you are the one who is out of order.

Why is YOUR way or YOUR priority, which others don’t seem to be supporting, the way that must be enforced?  What if you are trying to control and drive people to fulfil your agenda when God does not care as much for your agenda as you do?

Remember Martha telling Jesus to force Mary to do what Martha wanted, and Jesus saying that Martha had it wrong (see Luke 10:38-42).

Put Down that Knife

If you are a control freak, totally sold out to the offences that drive you, and determined to have your way, your justification, your vengeance or whatever else YOU think is vital, then you will have already gagged at what I am saying.  You will have your knives drawn to cut me down to size and let me know how justified you are in being angry, resentful, indignant, controlling and demanding, since you are standing on holy ground and everyone else is mired in irresponsibility, foolishness and self will.

But remember the words of Christ.  If you do not forgive you will not be forgiven (Matthew 6:14).  If you demand that others pay their debt to you then God will deliver you into the hands of ‘tormentors’ (Matthew 18:34,35).  And the torment you display suggests you are already under God’s sentence of punishment.

Check out my article titled Resolving Resentment to see the Biblical basis for these claims.

You have abandoned God’s grace and the mental and emotional distress that now drives you to torment others is a stinking mess that YOU have made.  Others have not made it for you.

You desperately need to apply forgiveness to all those who incense you and who you feel so offended by.  If you do not then you are doomed to deeper misery than you currently have and you will burn off more and more of your family and friends.  You are TOXIC, despite your prideful belief that you are on God’s side.

Better Solutions

People are selfish and irresponsible.  Your spouse, family, friends and associates fit that description.  You will be let down and hurt by those people.  That’s an everyday part of life.

You will either resent life or you will bring God’s grace into it.  As you learn to forgive and extend grace to people who do not deserve it, just as you want God to extend His grace to you when you don’t deserve it, life will become a blessing and a joy, instead of a wrangle.

In order to resolve differences and difficulties you have with your spouse, family or friends, you are best to start with a clean heart and free spirit.  Resentment, anger, frustration, jealousy, wilfulness, prejudice, and the like are barriers to the better solutions you need.  Remove those barriers immediately by giving open hearted forgiveness to all those who offend you.

Then work with God and your spouse, family and friends to find a godly and blessed solution.

You may have to change your priorities, because they are unrealistic.  You may have to accept others for who they really are, not who you want them to be.  You may need to inspire others to see the merit of things you hold dear.  You may need to see the wisdom of their different way of doing things, and give up your limited concepts about how things and what things are to be done.

You Choose

There are only two options in dealing with the upsets of life.  You either find and give God’s grace to those who offend and fail you, or you become bitter toward them, a root of bitterness springs up in your life and you and many others become defiled.

If your relationships involve contention, argument, disappointment, resentment, wrangling, hardness of heart, or similar negative elements, then you have already made bad choices in the past and are living with the toxic results.

I don’t have to live your life or live with you.  If you want to go ahead and mangle your life then do so as much as you want.  But please don’t live in deception any longer.  You are not a noble agent of God, but a miserable, selfish and bitter person who has personally chosen to come under the power of evil and to damage all those around you.  If you choose to live in unforgiveness then you have everything you deserve.

If you are willing to humble yourself, let me encourage you with this wonderful news.  By you simply following God’s instructions, forgiving all who offend you, God’s grace and His heavenly blessings will be released into your life, no matter how desperately bad things are right now.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your offspring may live” Deuteronomy 30:19

The earlier articles on Resentment can be found by these links:
Resolving Resentment http://chrisfieldblog.com/2012/01/02/resolving-resentment
Resentment Revisited (part 1) http://chrisfieldblog.com/2012/09/12/resentment-revisited

Get Over It!

A young adult friend introduced me to the phrase “Get Over It” many years ago. She enjoyed interrupting people who were complaining about something or other with her laughing advice, “Get over it!” Many people picked up the phrase and for a while it was the most likely contribution you were to hear from some folk.

Of course, there are some things which cannot be shrugged off with a laugh and so getting over serious offence, abuse, or the like is not something that should be made fun of. But there are many things which people get worked up about without any real commitment to the issue. It may incense them or outrage their sensibilities, but still be only something they complain about, not being something they will actually do something about.

In the spirit of my first Idiot Test, which exposes the folly of taking up issues with no real intent to do anything about it, I now present some thoughts on the wise advice, “Get over it!”


Stark Raving Mad

Insanity can involve the state of being “raving mad”, where a person raves on about things that do not make sense or which are simply products of their own delusions. Paranoid people talk about dangers that do not exist. People can perceive attitudes which they think they see in others, when those others have no thought about them at all.

On a milder level, however, people can also rave, without being mad. People tend to rave about things that impact their thoughts. They may keep talking about their fears, sense of offence, misgivings, or the like. Because those thoughts loom large in their mind, or heart, they end up speaking about those things all the time. To other people with other things to do and think about it seems that the person is raving on and on about things that they should have dropped out of mind.

This is where “Get over it!” comes into its own.

Preoccupation is Biblical

The Bible speaks about the issue of ‘raving’, by pointing to the source of that obsessive talk. The words which come out of our mouth originate in our heart. If we have issues in our heart, at that deeper level of our life, then we will tend to talk about those things, like water bubbling up from a spring.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Heart Monitor

Since the heart is the source of what comes out of us, spilling those things which fill up our inner thoughts, then we are wise to monitor our heart. And the very words we speak are as good a piece of equipment as anything else.

If you tend to rave about things stop to check why you can’t let that thing go. If you have unforgiveness toward someone, you will tend to talk about them and what they did. If you have fear for your future you will tend to talk about what could go wrong. If you have fantasies about your future you will tend to rave on about all the things you imagine could happen.

Once you have resolved your heart issues, of offence, unforgiveness, fear, delusion, insecurity, shame, or whatever, then you will also stop raving on so much.

Will You Fix It?

Here’s a way to prompt yourself about dealing with issues. It might be unwise to apply this to your family and friends, since they might take offence at your approach. So, start with yourself. Maybe in time you will have earned the right to try this on others.

Take the issue you are raving about and ask, “Well, are you going to do something about it?”

If you are not actually working on a solution, then all you are doing is venting empty words, to express your feelings. That process is vain. It does not create a solution. It does not bring greater clarity. It does not let you get past the issues.

So, “Will you fix it?” If not, then……. “Get over it!”

If you are not going to do anything to resolve the situation then the wisest thing you can do is to put the thing behind you and out of mind. Get over it! If you are a victim and you intend to stay a victim, then stop complaining about being a victim. If you have suffered an irreparable damage, then, since it is irreparable, get on with life. Stop raving about things you aren’t going to change!

Can’t Let Go

Once you’ve faced the “Will You Fix It?” question, and the instruction to “Get over it!” you then come to some deeper insight into yourself.

It may be that you aren’t going to fix it and you can’t get over it. So now you can see your real problem. You are caught in a trap, with no way out. You are not going to solve the problem, and you are not going to get over it. So you are probably camping on the ground of ‘self-pity’. You have probably chosen to be miserable and to make other people’s lives miserable too.

Of maybe your pride is in the way. You are going to trash your life, because of your pride. Or maybe it’s a mater of unforgiveness. Which ever way you look at it, the real problem is not the thing you are complaining and raving about, but YOU!

You are the problem. You won’t get on with life. You won’t find God’s grace. You won’t humble yourself, forgive your offenders, love your enemies, or find God’s help to solve the problem. You miserable creature! You are an enemy of God and all the people who come in contact with you. You are totally self-absorbed and don’t care how you burden others in your self-indulgent existence.

Get Grace

God’s word tells us that God’s grace is more than enough. It is sufficient for any challenge. You don’t have to be a victim, or be obsessive, or be self-absorbed. There is enough grace to totally transform your life and circumstances.

So, get your hands on God’s grace. And you get that by being humble. God gives grace to the humble.

“And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me.” 2Corinthians 12:9

“But God gives more grace. Wherefore he says, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
Word of Advice

You may need me to spell out how this “Get Over It” thing works in day to day life, especially in the home. So I’ll write another article on this for you, called, Get Over It At Home, to help put practical legs onto this important concept. Look out for that article. Meanwhile, here’s my word of advice.

Are you facing a challenge at the moment? I have some advice for you. If you seriously respond to that advice and think through your reactions to it you should get a good look at your heart and know what to ask God to do in you.

Now, here’s my awesome word of wisdom. Here is the best advice I may be able to give you in your current situation. Here is the word you have been waiting for….

“Get over it!”

Steps to Release via Legal Ground

The Steps to Release which I teach is a checklist of key steps that help a person move into the freedom Christ purchased for them. The steps are to:
Admit Your Need;
Find the Real Problem and its Root Cause;
Repent;
Forgive;
Renounce;
Resist; and
Cast Your Cares on the Lord
.

I noted in my early personal journey into freedom and from watching what happened to others, that it was little use coming into freedom if that freedom could not be maintained. That would be like taking ground off an enemy, only to lose it and have to fight another whole battle to win it back.

The best way to maintain or hold ground that was won was to be thorough in the process of taking that ground. And that’s where ‘legal ground’ comes into focus. If a person has given the enemy a legal right to attack them, then they will re-lose the ground they win.

A visiting minister or a faith-filled moment can see a person come free from a problem. But if the devil still has a legal right to oppress the victim with that problem, it will come back, in one form or another. The recurrence of the problem will be a real downer to the faith of the individual and they may find it harder to win the battle the next time around.

No matter what the problem is I make it a point to clear away the legal ground which may have been given to the enemy. That’s where the three steps of Repent, Forgive and Renounce have their place. Once the problem has been identified it could be easy for a faith-filled person to go straight to battle with the issues. The warrior may well win the battle. But with an open door for the problem to come back there is a serious risk that it will do just that. Jesus even warned that a demon can return bringing even worse demons with it.

“Then he goes and takes to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” Luke 11:26

That’s why I get people to work through these three intermediate steps in the process. So let’s look at these steps which deal with the legal ground.

Repentance leads to God’s forgiveness and the cleansing of our sin.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1John 1:9

The reason we need to be forgiven and cleansed is because that makes our sin just as if it had never happened. That is important because, if we have sinned we have become the servant of the sin we committed.

“Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin.” John 8:34

If you are a legal servant of a particular sin, then it will be very hard for you to maintain any freedom from it, even if you have experienced a dramatic deliverance. You need to be forgiven of the sin, so it is gone out of your life. Then the legal link of you as a servant of sin has been removed.

The act of giving Forgiveness to those who offended us is also vital in removing the legal grounds of the enemy. If we do not forgive, we block our own forgiveness. When we do not forgive we are handed over to the tormentors.

“But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:26

“And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due to him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also to you, if you do not forgive from your hearts every one the trespasses of his brother.” Matthew 18:34, 35

How can you expect to maintain freedom when you have been denied the forgiveness which sets you free and then you have been handed over to a tormentor? You must extend forgiveness to your offenders in order to secure your own forgiveness and to maintain your own release.

Then we come to Renouncing. This is an interesting Bible truth, because it is only mentioned in the Bible on one occasion. The Apostle Paul declared that he had renounced the hidden things of dishonesty.

“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” 2Corinthians 4:2

The Greek word translated “renounce” is only used once in the New Testament. Its technical meaning is to “speak off”, as if to revoke something by a verbal pronouncement. When a father disowns his son, and says, “This is no longer my son”, he is renouncing his son. The Moslem form of divorce enacted by a husband repeating the words, “I divorce you”, three times, is also a model of what renouncing could be like.

Paul had ‘spoken off’ the things which were hidden in his life, which made a lie of his testimony or good intentions. In practice today, the process of renunciation (renouncing) involves making a declaration that you are no longer connected to the evil which once ruled in your life. Mostly I simply get people to say, “I renounce the evil” (specifically naming it where possible).

Once these three steps have been worked through I then proceed into the spiritual warfare component of resisting evil, commanding it out of the person’s life. I am confident that the enemy does not have a toe-hold or a hand-grip to cling to, so gaining the release is easier. I am also confident that the freedom that is achieved will be much easier to maintain.

My first article about the Steps To Release gives more understanding of how these steps work.
So have a look at: Steps To Release

For a sample prayer through the steps to release I commend the book, Family Horizons, which is available from www.FamilyHorizons.net