Something someone said, or didn’t say, or did or didn’t do, hurt my feelings and made me a bit mad. It hit me in just the wrong spot. The spot where a stronghold lives…still.
And I was all up in arms. I was armed and ready to let them have it. My tongue was sarcastic, and acid dripped from every syllable of every word that I drug out as long as a I possibly could. In my mind. Because you see, sometimes I rehearse what I’ll say while I rehash their evil deeds so I’m justified in my hateful behavior.
For the life of me I cannot remember what was said/not said, done/not done to me to get me all riled up with death on my heart. I can’t even remember who had me so angry I mentally treated them as if I wanted them dead.
This is what happens to us and in us when our strongholds are bumped, or body slammed. We want to wish death on the offending party. That is what anger is. Don’t believe me? Take a gander at Matthew 5.
‘You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court, and whoever shall say to his brother ‘Raca’ shall be guilty before the supreme court, and whoever shall say, ‘You fool’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”Matthew 5:21-22
Suddenly we’re looking at strongholds in a whole new light, aren’t we? Suddenly they aren’t quite so cozy, are they? We need to stop making friends with them and take them to the cross. That is where we’ll find the healing we so desperately want, need, and search for.
The cross. The cross stands in staunch opposition to all strongholds and all of life, and the way things are. The way we are. It stands in a fixed moment in time for all time–
For all of us.
But it stands. It doesn’t chase us down, it doesn’t run us down. It doesn’t run from us because we’re too evil. It stands and it is we that must run to it. Run with our backpacks and bags full of our garbage. We must run to it as fast as our sinful legs will allow us to run, and there in it’s shade we must fall to our knees, embrace the cross of suffering and say, “I’m all in because I’m all done. I’m giving in because I give up. Please take these bags, and the pack I’m carrying. Renew me, remake me into Your image.”
Then we rise clothed, not in the dirty rags of a beggar, a sinner, but in the spotless robes of His righteousness, His holiness, His blamelessness.
The cross stands in staunch opposition to all we were and we thought we had to be. The “Hound of Heaven” does not, and will not, chase us down alleyways and streets to beat us into submission with His cross. His cross is not our punishment–it is the proof of payment made for our sins. It is stamped “Paid In Full” because Jesus took all our sins and He became them on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21), all so He could pay our debt to God.
The cross of Jesus is the most loving torture device ever conceived of by man. What man meant for evil–in making the cross–God meant for good. The weight of our suffering post-cross experience is nothing compared to the suffering we wallowed in pre-cross. Before we suffered without help and without hope. After we have both help and hope in our sufferings.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:17-18
So when things make your heart go thump in the night, and make you angrier than a wet hen, just stop. Stop and pray, “Jesus, is there any stronghold that is being bumped?” I can speak from personal experience of His complete faithfulness to reveal and heal it. But you have to run TO Him with the hurt.