Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15 King James Version
How do you get to a point of giving God a “sacrifice of praise” when you have been hurt or when you have hurt someone?
We have all been there (some more painful than others) and at times have trouble turning a painful situation into an item of praise to God – a stepping stone for spiritual growth. But let me assure you…
…if you do not turn pain into a sacrifice of praise, the pain will hinder your walk with the Lord.
Healing from the pain of a broken bone is far easier than healing from emotional pain. I grew up in a home where I was sheltered from a lot of emotional pain, so dealing with gossip, hearing cruel things about myself, or learning that I have hurt someone is difficult for me. I have a Pollyanna-type personality that wants everyone to be happy.
I gave you that bit of information to say – if I can turn emotional pain into a sacrifice of praise, you can do it too.
One of the most painful things that ever happened to me involved gossip against Cerwin and me. It happened several years ago after an incident at our house while we were on vacation. We learned about it six or seven weeks later during the early part of the gossip. We tried to bring peace to those who were offended. It was probably eight months later when a godly man approached Cerwin and told him how angry he was at us for serving beer to underage young people. He was especially offended because of what we represent in our ministry with TFC and the church we attend. What? We do not allow alcohol in our house nor do we drink alcohol of any kind. But, before confronting Cerwin, this man learned the truth and came to apologize for his bitter feelings toward us. Wow! How did the gossip trail get to that strange place?
The gossip was more painful to me than the actual situation – especially because it traveled way beyond our circle of friends and church family. How many other people heard the incorrect information? There was great temptation to be angry or even quit serving with TFC because of the humiliation. But, I didn’t have to think about that very long before I saw the “footprints” of Satan.
Sometimes I wish there had been just one person who had stopped the gossip early in its journey and said, “Wait a minute. I know Cerwin and Doris better than that, let’s ask them about it.”
It still bothers me on occasion (like in the next situation). Other times I smile and know in my heart that this bit of pain and humiliation was nothing compared to what many people have faced or what Christ faced when he was misunderstood and even crucified.
It was about a year after the man approached Cerwin that a woman came up to one of our children and hissed, “You must have the most awful mother in the world.” Our child (an adult) did not know the person, or why it was said, and was too surprised to ask. Had this person heard the gossip or had I or our child angered her in some way? I don’t even know who it is to ask what I have done.
How did I turn that pain into a sacrifice of praise? It has become a huge stepping stone for me to be careful what I believe and say when I hear gossip or bits and pieces from an unsettled, difficult situation. My faith in God has become stronger and I have become more patient and established in waiting on God.
I have done some things that caused my own pain.
Because I love to capture life in pictures, you won’t find it surprising that I have offended people by pictures I have posted on Facebook or in my blog. Even when I meant to honor someone or something, my carelessness or eagerness to share a story caused them humiliation or pain. I didn’t try to make them angry, but it did. Other times I learn that someone is offended because I didn’t post a picture.
Because I want everyone to be happy – their frustration causes me great pain. How did I turn my pain into a sacrifice of praise? I could do what my flesh feels like doing at times, and just quit taking and posting pictures. But I know that it is God who gave me a passion for capturing life in photographs, so I have become more cautious in what I post and more creative in how I do it without always showing faces.
When I have trouble forgiving myself or feel that someone hasn’t forgiven me I try to do something positive – something to share the love of God with others – my sacrifice of praise.