"If I foolishly assume that I’m a good person, then I’ll arrogantly assume that I’m a deserving person. I’ll place myself in the center of my world and live with an “I deserve” attitude. Because I live with such a sense of entitlement, I’ll develop an inflated and unrealistic sense of personal need." - Paul David Tripp
Reposted from The Cripplegate.
The Olympic Games is a dignified affair. The athletes who are selected to compete represent the most physically and mentally dedicated, talented, and trained people on the planet. The various events serve to put on display the prowess, agility, strength, and determination required to perform at such an elite level of skill mastery. Which is why it is amusing to consider some of the odder sports to have snuck onto the roster for a time, only to expose their unsuitability for Olympic attention.
In 1900, the Paris Olympic Games saw the inclusion of equestrian long jump where a horse named Extra Dry made a splash in the news by winning the world’s first and last Olympic long jump for horses with an underwhelming distance of 20 feet. To fully grasp how insignificant that achievement is you need to know that this is nearly 10 feet less than the world record held by a human.
Another sport to make a short-lived appearance at the Olympic level, in 1906, was pistol dueling. You might think you know why pistol dueling would be short-lived, but I was surprised to learn that the downfall of the sport’s popularity was that the duel occurred between a contestant and a dummy with a target embroidered on its chest. Yes, the dueling opponent couldn’t shoot back.
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Elijah sits under the juniper and bemoans the failure, unfairness, and pointlessness of his years of work (1 Kings 19:10). Jonah sits under his gourd and broods over his unwanted success (and God’s unwelcome mercy!) in Nineveh (Jonah 4:1-11). Job sits among his “friends” and agonizes physically, emotionally, and spiritually (Job 2:8, 13).
Then there’s Peter. What was he doing between his denial of Jesus, with its resulting bitter regret (Matt. 26:75), and his decision to “go fishing”?
It probably involved a lot of sitting.
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The humble, submissive, thankful attitudes of worship are what make any response to bitterness genuinely Christian. Honoring God with our attitudes is at the heart of why it’s worth the trouble to avoid prolonged bitterness.
But believers struggling with bitterness should also take advantage of practical wisdom. We need to be tactical as well as strategic. With that in mind, my aim here is to commend one practical response to bitterness, along with some caveats and cautions.
Simple though it is, this strategy has made a huge difference in my own life.