Ever been around a big magnet?
An industrial sized magnet that will try to pull keys out of your pocket or rip metal buttons off your clothes?
I have one in my heart that runs on resentment. You probably do too.
It doesn’t want metal. It wants pain.
Like an addict wants a bump, a tourist wants a selfie, a mob wants vengeance, a navy wants a war.
It doesn’t focus so much on acquisition as it does retention. Retention is its thing.
My heart magnet never lets a perfectly good slight go to waste. It reuses it. Recycles it. Repurposes it. But it doesn’t want to let it go, because it knows that a good slight is one of the most versatile and useful things in the world to have.
For example, it can enable me to feel justified in doing all sorts of things. It can keep me sequestered in an emotional place that I feel safe and never have to feel vulnerable. It can be an excuse to be passive aggressive, seek revenge, or just allow anger to simmer quietly. It can reinforce a self-image of feeling unworthy. It’s great for that.
Pain is worth holding, feeding, watering, stroking, loving, and taking special care of. If you take good enough care of it, it will grow and multiply. It can branch out from simple feelings of hurt or anger into diminished self-esteem, inferiority complexes, and the guilt of reactionary behavior.
And it’s the perfect justifier. Who can blame a person for harboring resentment when they’ve been genuinely hurt through no fault of their own?
Jesus has a heart magnet too. Biggest one ever, in fact.
But his works differently. It runs on Love.
It doesn’t hold in hurts and punches and blows once they’ve been landed. It acquires them, attracts them, asks for them, invites them.
Acquisition is its thing. And transformation—that’s what it does that no other magnet ever could do.
It pulls at every hurt, every slight, every counter-punch, every double-cross, every disappointment, every act of violence, whether physical or emotional, from every single person who has ever been born. It asks for them, deeply desires them, pines for them, longs for them.
And once it’s taken them, it transforms them, by Love, into His Glory.
To participate in that transformation we have to shut our own magnets down and let pain go, a process called Forgiveness—releasing evil. We have to let Jesus take it.
But here’s the thing: Forgiveness is tough.
Then again, so is Jesus.
He has to be in order to take all that evil and transform it.
Jesus will let us keep pain if we choose. He will not turn his magnet up to overpower ours. That’s what makes it tough for me.
I want to keep the things my magnet likes. I have a friend I need to forgive. I prayed for Jesus’ magnet to attract my resentment and heal my heart.
Then I realized that, deep down, I didn’t want to let it go. I wanted to keep it. I was too comfortable with it. My magnet was still running full-out.
So then I prayed that He would help me want to release it.
Well, that didn’t happen either. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t even want to want to release it. (As you might imagine by now, this reverberation of concepts carried on for a while.)
But Jesus is Like Alice in Wonderland. He’s the biggest thing in the world, but He’s also the smallest whisper in my heart. He can get into any opening, no matter how small.
My will can’t do much. Not much at all.
But sometimes it can open a tiny crack in me, just barely big enough for Jesus to get in. If I can just kind of want to want to want to want to want to want to forgive, Jesus can start transforming the situation, transforming my heart, using Love to heal it.
It’s what He does.
It’s His thing.