After There’s Nothing Left: clean heart & clean soul

            Welcome back! Now that we’ve passed through our Intermission it is time to switch gears from delineating what happens to our soul when you neglect it, deny it, or just don’t bother to feed it, to rebuilding it.

             Point of clarification— When referring to “Soul” it should be taken as the whole of the human being— body, SOUL, & spirit. Historically there has been a debate as to whether we are tripartite, or dipartite; having three aspects to who we are vs. two aspects— body & spirit comprising the soul (self). We will not address this debate here. Rather, we will consider the rebuilding of the soul as the restoration of the whole human being to a vibrancy of life before God and before the world: a healthy human being.

      So we will turn our attention, from here on, to the refurbishing, the re-nourishing, the rebuilding of your soul, your whole being, body/soul/spirit.

      One of the first natural results that flows out of a time of Soul Confession is Soul Clarity. This clarity, like the facets of a cut gem, sparkles in the countless colors of the spectrum. For once you have cleared out the garbage in your life, between your soul and God, between yourself and those around you, and within yourself, you start to see things more clearly. You start to feel lighter in life, and in spirit. The world around you shines brighter; the colors of existence seem more vibrant, pulsing with life, dazzlingly brilliant.

      The questions that haunt you are no longer morbid or morose. Rather, they are questions of possibility and hope. “I wonder what’s in store for me around the corner?” “What comes next?” Clarity of life elicits an attitude within that is expectant, hopeful, and courageous. “I can tackle anything!” Cleaning out your life, through confession, forgiveness, and humility produces clarity and perspective on just about everything.

      The first adversity to recovery is admitting that you need to deal with yourself. Attitudes, mindsets, absolute perspectives you hold will all need to be scrutinized. Trust me, it’s no fun, but necessary.

 Totally dependent on You,


Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— digging out of the dirt.

After There’s Nothing Left: an intermission- kindness

  Still in the grips of this pandemic. Coming out of one of the truly malicious federal elections in memory, facing any further facets of depression seems like hardening icing on the top of a stale, sagging cake. With melting candles.

   No! I don’t think so. Let’s shift gears.

   Between now and New Years, I hope to challenge your perspective. The one thing genuine Christians can do for the rest of humanity right now is to come alongside them and help lighten their load.

   We cannot lift the weight of their sin, we cannot solve the entirety of the Human Dilemma, but after these past 11 months we can be kind to our neighbors, sensitive in our businesses, gentle in our relationships with people, and offer a helping hand (food, tire change, snow shovel flowers, whatever…, to those around us.

     There has been so much pain, extensive loss (250,000 deaths USA), and anger over this past Presidential election that we need, collectively, to commit ourselves to being kind to one another.

      If there were ever a time for true Christians to step forward and take action, actionable kindness, it is now. No discussion, no siding with political parties, no dredged-up histories. KINDNESS. NOW.

      The leader of our Community Group prays every day that he will be kind to people.

      Why? Because kindness is not a natural human trait. Our natural bent is to retaliate against people who disagree with us or come against us. Kindness must be cultivated.

      And if you cannot think of any ways to be kind to your neighbors, and especially your political opposites…, “Houston, we have a problem.” Has our human nature supplanted our sense of forgiveness?!? Shouldn’t kindness be grounded in Christ’s love for us, instead of a reaction?!?

Remember how Christ’s apostle Paul admonished us, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~Ephesians 4:32 ESV.

So my trust through all this is in Jesus Christ, and will remain so.

     Where’s your trust?

Honor God, honor people, show a little kindness,
Dr. Gary Davis, President


After There’s Nothing Left: An Intermission


If you have grappled with any of the issues in these posts (book) so far you might want to take a break at this point. This might be especially true if you are in a critical place in your life, a tipping point, but without hope. I have found through my own emptiness that you cannot, should not, continue with self-analysis and pondering 24/7. To do so depletes your strength and creates fearful concerns where none may be warranted.

     Most of us have a tendency to over-analyze. Then we over-analyze again, rolling around the data, the experiences, and interpersonal relationships in our heads to a fault. Too often, resulting in depression and loss of stability.

     So take a break. Process what you’ve read so far.

     I need a break. You probably do too. Dealing with depression and recovering your soul are not easy topics to dwell on for too long. Unless, of course, you are a counselor or psychologist, and it is your job.

      So for the next two months These posts will address the issues of this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season. There are other things we need to consider and set aside time and energy to ponder. Some of the ideas I want to look at are—

  • Kindness
  • Caregiving
  • Being loving
  • Thanksgiving
  • Transitions in Life
  • Dealing with Your Past
  • Letting go
  • Crazy Celebration

      Many of the people we know will find Thanksgiving and Christmas quite difficult times to live through. So let’s get down to the business of loving them in ways that reflect Christ, make a difference, and make sense.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,


Dr. Gary Davis, President


After There’s Nothing Left: Forgiveness from God

[note— in the United States, this is the day we chose our elected officials at the Federal level. I’m sure most of us need to seek forgiveness for many things we have said and done during these past weeks and months. We may need to seek forgiveness from others, and from God.]

Finally, I want to address the issue of accepting forgiveness from God. I struggle on many levels with this idea. Philosophically, if there is a God, and I indeed have wronged Him, it makes complete sense to repent, cease and desist in my rebellious actions, and seek forgiveness. But why would He even offer forgiveness? He certainly is in no way obligated to do so. All actions have consequences. So why am I offered forgiveness? I certainly have not fulfilled even the slightest requirements of obedience to His Laws; yet I do desperately try to live within the perimeters of His protection.

     As a Christian I know I already have forgiveness, through Christ’s life-sacrifice to pay the penalties for my sin, as well as for the sins of a host of others. As I grow in faith (and forgiveness) I become more aware of the effects my sin has on God and upon myself. “Loathing” seems to be a word that aptly describes my state. I loathe what I sense inside me and I loathe what I know it is doing to the God I say I love. I am ashamed. I am embarrassed to call Him my friend. How can I accept His forgiveness with any degree of integrity!?!  The answer is, I can’t.

      Most people do not phrase the question of forgiveness in this manner. Most people assume God forgives them. I find this a most dangerous assumption, unfounded in just about every religion on the planet. Furthermore, I find that most people assume that the God of the Universe is there to do their bidding, rather than the other way around: that we exist to serve the God who made us. How did we turn things upside down and become so topsy-turvy?

      The question we’ve always asked has been, “How can God NOT forgive everybody?” Rather, the more authentic question should be, “Why should God bother to forgive any one of us!?!”

      These are some of my philosophical questions around the issue of receiving forgiveness from God. But I have some personal issues with accepting His forgiveness as well. At one time, earlier in my life, these questions arose from constantly being reminded that I was a sinner, not good enough, that I could never please God. Thank you, American fundamentalism of the 1950s & ‘60s. Later in life my issues were more tied to, what my wife describes as, my morbid introspection about life; that constant sense of not being good enough, never quite measuring up in God’s eyes, or in the eyes of others. It was a feeling of constantly being judged. I deserve judgment, not forgiveness. Blame it on an unforgiving father, I was told. I couldn’t forgive myself: and I couldn’t trust in God’s forgiveness.

      It is true that for much of my life I have wrestled with chronic depression; not a depression that would institutionalize me, but rather a deep-seated nagging that I will never measure up. Looking back, I need to admit that I have been quite successful in pioneering many endeavors in life that turned out to be ground-breaking enterprises; one venture even pioneered a new field of study— [How Historical Paradigm Shifts Affect Cross Cultural Communication.] Accepting God’s forgiveness has been a long process for me. In the end, when I realized that Christ had actually forgiven me, it was like a brilliant explosion of light erupting in my heart and head. A true “Ah-Ha!” moment.

      Now I could forgive myself, God, and others. More significantly, I could now also accept his forgiveness.

      There is an odd sense of freedom that overpowers every aspect of your being when you realize that you stand free, forgiven, and have a new life in God. It took a long time, but I no longer live as a guilty Christian, but rather, a forgiven sinner.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,


Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— the road ahead

After There’s Nothing Left: Forgiving Myself, Forgiving God, and Accepting His Forgiveness

Forgiveness for Myself

      As we move into these last three considerations in What Forges Forgiveness, forgiving others, and/or accepting their forgiveness is often representative of an inner need to forgive yourself. When I was a young boy, 8-16, I was told repeatedly that I could do nothing right; I was always wrong. As I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t even cut the grass right! (According to my dad.) Of course, I did blow up our basement with my Chemcraft Chemistry Set one Thursday afternoon.

      My dad was none too amused. He never forgave me: neither did I. I missed my experimentation with things about which I knew very little.

      So many of us go through our lives never forgiving ourselves for past failures, real or imagined. We live in a continual state of fear, or of being discovered, or of being ignored because we believe we are not worth that much—not even worth our own self-forgiveness.

      I was wrong to not forgive myself. So are you. I needed to forgive myself for the things I had done that were truly rebellious, illegal, and wrong. And I needed to ask forgiveness from others, especially my dad. Had I never forgiven myself, I doubt I would have ever believed that God could truly forgive me. But He did…, so I had better forgive myself as well!

      This next section, as well as next week’s, were not easy to write.

Forgiveness for God

      For a lot of us, there is a very deep seated need to forgive God. Not that God has intentionally done anything to us; but we often take it that way. Why did my dad die so young? Why God. I asked You to help me get into Princeton, but I didn’t. I, we, wanted to have children of our own, but we didn’t, or couldn’t. Even today, it gnaws away at my soul. I mean, what’s the point?!? I pray and nothing changes. God, You won’t do what I want You to! Really!?!  ‘nuf said.

      BUT, arising from the issue of NOT forgiving God, for whatever reason, is the matter of a life-long anger, a grudge, if you will, against God. I’ve seen this resentment grow in intensity within me. “Irrational” does not begin to describe the potency of some people’s hatred of anything religious, or spiritual, or especially, God. “If God exists, I don’t want anything to do with him!” people have told me. Maybe there was, at one time, a reason, an event, a tragedy where “God didn’t come through for me!” but that has long since been removed from our present situation. Now, we are left with only a pure, resolute resentment and absolute anger against Him.

      At the very least, this anger will eat away at your soul and spirit until you set yourself to resolve it. It will also eat away at other relationships in your life. Count on it.

      But do keep in mind that any of us can chose to forgive God for whatever we believe He has done to us, either by accident, intention, omission, or imagination, at any time. God is not sitting on His Throne in heaven thinking of new ways to hurt you, screw you over, or wreck your life. That makes no sense. Why?

      Why would the Lord God Creator of the Universe, and of us, want anything for us other than his best. He is much more the Lover than the Tyrant.

      In the next EMPulse, I want us to consider why it is so hard for some of us, OK, me, to receive Forgiveness from God.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,


Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— forgiveness from God

SOUL CONFESSION-muddy waters

A way out of Depression

I’ve often identified with the Apostle Paul’s changing descriptors of himself as he advanced in years. “I am the least of the apostles…, the least of all the saints…, the chief of sinners. The older I grow in faith the more conscious I’ve become of my own rebellions against the Lord who loves me and seeks my best. Why do I do it? Simple. Because I want to. Sin pleases me. It does not please God; it wounds Him deeply. Too often do I put my life in danger by stepping outside of His perimeters of protection for me. I am a foolish man who needs to admit my capricious revolt in confession, as real guilt before a Holy God, and seek Christ’s forgiveness. Thus— soul confession becomes a way out of depression.

More likely than not, my soul’s confession should be a daily thing; providentially. I tend to dwell on being genuinely forgiven through Christ’s grace in salvation, rather than constantly groveling in the dirt before God. Nonetheless, some significant time of soul-searching is always in order. Oddly, I believe Christ would have me come openly and humbly before him in the process, still holding onto his gift of forgiveness and new life, possibly to soften the blow, more likely to deepen the honesty and sincerity.

What Do I Need to Confess?

Before we get into the nature of our confession, it would be wise to refine an understanding of Sin. To be sure, it IS definitively breaking God’s Law, delineated within the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible. But that definition, at best, is rudimentary and simplistic. Sin is such an anachronistic, ambiguous word that it necessitates further amplification for a world which sees Sin, if it considers it at all, as merely getting caught.

Let’s start with an examination of the “logic,” the “why,” of the law. For God’s law was not given to us arbitrarily; it was conferred upon us in a context with a purpose that most of us have forgotten.

The Context for the Law

The simple question here is, “Why was the Law given?” Most people will respond that it was given to point out sin, or to keep us from sinning. But go further back in time, to the Garden. Whether you treat this Biblical passage as historical or metaphorical, the Truths it presents remain unchanged—the order of Creation, our ancestors first steps (and missteps) with God, their assignment to designate animal characteristics (“naming” them), God’s command to expand the human race through “knowing” one another intimately. And one, ONE, constraint, only one command— “Do not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil; for in that day you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17) Among all the pleasures and responsibilities granted our first ancestors was inserted just one prohibition, ONE— DO NOT. Was it, on the one hand, a simple experiment our Creator Father had put in place to test our devotion and thankfulness to Him: or, on the other hand, was it a stated warning for our own protection?

We failed. Our lives were now truly at risk.

Subsequent laws given through Moses, also given for our protection, were constructed to address a now disparate, unruly and rebellious “people of God.” Thus, did our ancient ancestors develop further amplification on the Law in the form of the Mishna (commentary on the Law), and the Gemara (commentary on the Mishna). Ancient Jews understood quite well what it meant to break the Laws of a holy God. They were painstaking meticulous in their strict compliance to adhere to even the remotest hint of law breaking. But they had forgotten its original purpose— to teach us to trust in the Father, and to protect His Creation.

The context for all laws, those found in natural creation, human history, and the Judeo-Christian tradition are the same— to keep us safe, under the protection of our Creator, so that we might flourish in this world. To forget this is to lose the context for confession.

What we call “sin,” represents our choice to step outside the perimeters of God’s protection, to challenge His sovereignty. Confession is the realization that we have stepped outside of the protection of our God & Father. Confession opens a space for us to seek resolution and restitution in a relationship with our Creator through forgiveness and to nestle once again within His safety.

I’ve never enjoyed swimming in muddy waters. You?

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,


Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— this gets personal.

Things that keep me from fulfilling God’s design pt 2

  Finally, just two more causes that contribute to my ongoing depression and keep me from fulfilling my life of faith in Christ.

5.       Personal Failures. Personal failure can be devastating. Moral failure, professional failure, being an absentee mom or dad, or just constantly making dumb decisions or mistakes can weigh you down and, over time, break your spirit. Build up a track record of them and you start to crumble as a person. I’ve been there. I must admit that I have a propensity to make numerous and stupid mistakes. When I teach principles of management to business execs, I always include this maxim—

Always make the same mistake at least twice:

that way you will be able to make it perfectly the next time.

      I’ve learned this from personal experience. And I wish I were kidding. But I am not.

      I have also lost the confidence and trust of people in at least two professional organizations. Even though the President of one reinstated me in a different capacity, the devastation of judgment on my performance rating and failure on my part led to a two-year depression that was very painful to crawl out of. Years later, I found some closure and resolution. The second professional failure still leaves me with a gaping “Why?” in the center of my soul. I was dropped, with sparse explanation, from a group of people I loved dearly. Someday, I hope to learn what everything was really about with this dismissal. It seemed so unjust.

      For a considerable period in life, as I’ve said earlier, I felt as if I had raised failure to an art-form. I just could not get things right. To this day I am never quite sure I am doing some things right. But that doesn’t stop me from trying, from pressing on. Personal Failure has come to mean that I haven’t quite figured out exactly where I fit into a situation. Maybe my gifting and skill set are not quite a match: maybe they are the prophetic voice that must speak into the confusion. Maybe not: but I still try.

      I do not fail as much as I used to. My failures are not as BIG as they once were. Then again, I have a great deal more confidence in God today than I once did.

6.       My Own Desire to Chase after Evil. Every decade of my life has had its own dictum, its own maxim that defined it. In 1945 the Jews held onto the slogan, Next year, Jerusalem! It spurred them on to fight for what they believed in— a national Jewish state, Israel. I too have some dictums. They run like this— make a difference, Imagine, Embody Truth, No More Games, My only safety is in the arms of God. In this past decade, my mantra has been Honor God, honor people—make a difference. My individual and corporate belief in a God Creator, who is Jesus Christ, has convinced me that all of us are placed on this earth to make a difference. No exceptions. It is not about me. It about others, everybody…, everywhere.

      With this precursor, I must reconfirm that I enjoy my sin. I love running from God and chasing after evil. I do not like myself when I do it, but I do it anyway. “My bad,” just does not do justice to my natural propensity to step out of the perimeters of God’s protection for me and assert my insignificant independence against His glorious might, strength, and wise principles for living.

      If anything prevents me, personally, from fulfilling God’s design on my life, it is this. I want to fulfill my own design! Is this wrong? Yes. Is this rebellion against the God who made me? Yes. What is he thinking?!? You are asking! Well, I want what I want! That’s all. It’s self-glorification in all its grandeur. I am informing God that His design for me is all well-and-good, it’s just not what I want. This, in turn, fosters a bitter depression that I cannot get what I want.

      My soul will never achieve a place of proper reflection it so desperately needs until I tackle this myriad of issues that press me to the floor and bind my spirit in Gordian complicated knots. I cannot think critically, see clearly, or gain an unclouded perspective on life until I get a grip on my life the way it is. Not the way I think it is, but the way it actually is. I have found other people are a constant source in insight for me to reflect upon myself. I thank God for them. You will need the same kinds of people in your life too, if you are ever to find soul reflection a rich, troubling, and rewarding practice.

      Next we will consider the issues that muddy the waters of the soul, which blind us from seeing things clearly. When people say that confession is good for the soul, well, they’re right.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,


Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— muddy waters

After There’s Nothing Left: flat-2-fantastic faith

Sistine Chapel      As promised, here some of the things I am doing to restore my faith from flat to vibrant. These actions have made a major difference in both recovering from depression and restoring my soul.

1.       Interfacing with a diversity of people. Surrounding myself with only like-minded friends would never expand my understanding and acceptance of them. I learn from those who are of a different mindset, a different culture and temperament. Maintaining this balance in my life seems to reinvigorate me; it draws me to a place where the earth and its peoples come into clearer perspective. I regain a sense of mission in life and what my role is in the grand scheme of things. (That’s why I still have to get above 14,000’ at least once a month.)

2.       Seeking more times of solitude. Please note that I am a genuine extrovert. Though significantly tempered from earlier in life, an extrovert in every sense of the word— grabbing life by the bal…, er horns and going for it! Ergo, solitude, for me, is difficult, yet critical. I tend to end my days earlier (usually with a wee dram of fine single-malt Scotch), pondering if I had made any difference this day, as its hours and minutes tick away. God willing, I have.

      If you are primarily an introvert, you need not heed this advice. It is true that you need solitude as much as us extroverts. But you also need to get out more and engage with God’s creation in the lives of others. And I’m not sure the single-malt Scotch would be a good idea for you; unless you are with someone.

3.       Furthermore, I read the Bible differently now. I read it not so much for content, or information, or to support a theological position; rather, I read it to see and sense how Jesus moved.  I track his movements, not topologically, but relationally. How did he interface with people? How did he meet them on their own grounds, in their own life situations, and reveal himself to them? Why did they respond the way they did? Why did he use questions and metaphors (parables) so much? Why was he cryptic on some occasions and not on others? What pushed him to seek time alone with his Father? And an especially important question for me— How did he love people, no matter their cultural diversity?

      In a way, I enter into the text of Scripture to feel its pulse as much as I used to analyze it for its content and truth. In my book CLUELESS CHRISTIANITY, I have a chapter subtitled “-the non-propositional nature of Truth.” If you enter into the times and culture, the life-situations and heartbeats of a text, you will see what I mean. When Jesus said, “I AM the way, the Truth, and the life.” he wasn’t kidding. He was shocking.

4.       I pray differently too. Though I have special times for deep, concentrated confession, worship, and intercession, I have also learned to “pray without ceasing,” as it were. That is, I arise each morning in an attitude of prayer (…er, after coffee) and maintain it throughout the day. This often becomes difficult, to say the least. It is often interrupted by lust or laziness, hunger, counseling, that guy who just cut me off, or writing (like now). But the attitude of constant prayer, that is, an open channel between myself, and Jesus Christ, the God of the Universe, is always, ALWAYS open. I do not believe I have ever had a simple two way conversation with anyone where the Spirit of God was not involved in the discourse in some way at some time. I’ve also learned to keep quiet in prayer. I now wait for God to speak. That’s important, and takes time.

      Granted, this three-way-open-prayer exchange has some side effects. We always have to listen, even if ever so briefly, to that funny little voice in the back of our head, before we respond to the person in front of us; which, of course, is a good thing for an extrovert. On the down side, having an open channel to God on an ongoing basis does ruin our enjoyment of sin. It truly, really, just is not as much fun as it used to be. This too may be a good thing for us…, and for me.

5.       Finally, I have been listening to astute Christian leaders from around the world [Ian Montgomery- Peru (now Vermont), Vaclav Havel- Czech Republic (through his writings), Phill Olsen- South Africa (now stateside), and Leonard Sweet, (Rings of Fire)] who can feed my soul. It would not be an understatement to admit that there are many men and women around the world who have a more significant grasp on Scripture, on the interface between the Christian faith and our world’s cultures, and on their own lives, than I will ever have. Thanks to the Internet I can now access many of them as I drive, sit in my study, or in front of my fireplace on a cold winter’s morn. I have learned that I know very very little. Thus, I avail my mind to learn from others, some of whom I find myself in cordial and vast disagreement. But that’s OK. My faith is being challenged, probed, assaulted, and fed. Thus, it is moving from flat to fantastic. Hopefully, by the time I am finished writing this book (yes, these EMPulsi are coming out in book form…, hopefully before I die), flatness of faith will be a thing of the past for me. That would be nice.

      Simply put, we need a faith that is Alive! Vibrant! and Full of Life! We need to live as if we are truly forgiven; for, in fact, WE ARE!

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,


Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— Things that Keep Me from Fulfilling God’s Design.

After There’s Nothing Left– flat faith

As you read this section you need to know that I write it in a condition which very much falls in line with this segment’s heading. My faith has been quite flat for some time now. Not by conscious choice; rather, simply through poor decisions on my part (or lack thereof), and geography. I have very few Christian friends where I live. Let me rephrase that— I have found it difficult to find the kind of Christian friendships here that can truly feed my soul; but there are some— Jeremy, Paul, Mike, John, Alan. Not that I am all that special, or above anyone else; quite the opposite. It is more an issue of commonality of perspective on culture, society, the Christian faith, and the nature of the interplay between them. I enjoy my pluralistic, feigning-acceptance-yet-ignorance-of-my-faith culture. I walk gingerly among my fellow believers, fearing their reproach or scoffing. I walk boldly alongside my pagan friends, caring for their pain, their heart’s concerns, their relational ambiguities, and gender confusions. Nor do I judge them. That I leave for God.

      My soul is weighted heavily with their concerns, their pain, their sorrows, their emptiness. Caring like this is a conscious decision. I rejoice with them at the birth of their children; weep, and pray, with them at the loss of a child, or over a broken marriage, or loss of a partner. I love those whom God has place in my path. I am well aware that I might be the only Christ they ever know.

      The same is true of my friends who are genuine followers of Christ…, or even for those who are not quite there yet. The love is the same, even though the people may be of vastly divergent dispositions.

      Thus, have I defined one of the reasons for my flat faith. I care for others more than I am cared for. This is a problem. Some years ago one of the pastors of my church described me as a “non-maintenance member.” Surprised, I asked him what he meant. He proceeded to describe me as one who came across as such a strong person that I needed no care, no pastoring, no shepherding. Wow! I sadly informed him that such was far from accurate. But sadder still, nothing really changed. I will admit that I do present quite a solid, secure, aura; because, overall, it is who I am. But I am not without weakness, softness, and a deep need for fellow human beings to gather about me to encourage and love me.

      Over the next few EMPulses I want to give you some ideas on what I did, and what you can do to restore your faith from flat to vibrant. A flat faith can suffocate itself and die.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,
Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— Flat2Fantastic, pt.11.

After There’s Nothing Left: Resentment and UnForgiveness… on my part


  Throughout the course of my days I have come across individuals whose lives are filled with anger, resentment, and revenge. Over time, I watch as it eats away at them, devouring their energies and their spirit. To my amazement and sorrow these people hang onto their anger and rage like a dog with an old bone; and they keep gnawing at it. I try to tell them it will eventually destroy their spirit…, but they do not want to hear it. They would rather chew on the rot and feed their infection.

      Then there are also those who never, ever forgive. They hold a grudge, remembering “what you did to me” so long ago; and they want pay-back. Someday, somehow, “I will get you back for that!” I have had people write me asking my forgiveness for the anger they felt toward me 10-20 years ago. I cannot even remember who some of these people were. But I am glad they got it off their chest.

      But what a way to live!

      Far too many people let this life-sucking resentment-of-another consume their lives. When people live for revenge there is little energy remaining to live for anything else. The sad reality is that many of these people do not want to give up their vengeful spirit. So they remain angry, seeking to undo another person’s happiness or livelihood!

      What a way to die.

      One form of resentment should be more aptly branded as embittered jealously. You not only want what someone else possesses, you are incensed that they have it and you do not. Whether it’s their house, their car, their wife, their job, or their happiness, I deserve it more than they do. Allow me to pose a question— Then why do they have it? Maybe what they have was never meant for you for any number of reasons. The truth might actually be that you DO NOT deserve it more than the other person. Could it be that you have not worked as hard for it? The problem we are missing is that we have grown so accustomed to the infection of comparison-itis that we have lost our own way along the path hewn out for us. Most of us have our own idea of success. What we do not seem to grasp is that another’s success does not necessarily reflect on ours. In fact, we may already be successful but don’t want to accept God’s definition of success for us. Ask the unemployed Ph.D. raising four kids, or the under-employed executive working in a Third World country restructuring their government in the midst of a military upheaval.

Success is not always ours to define. Resentment will leave you with nothing but emptiness and unfulfilled longing. But in periods where soul reflection becomes necessary to your very being you must fight yourself to attend to these deepest of soul-sucking demons. To NOT address them is to pass over a festering wound and pretend it will go away if you pay it no heed.

During his college days John Steinbach (The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men) was told by a professor that the day he became an author pigs would fly. In each subsequent book Steinbach wrote he penned this Latin insignia in the front—

Ad astra per alas porci

-to the stars on the wings of a pig

      For those who need to let go of some resentment— Fly Free. And when you feel the urge to dump a little pig-poo on those who poo-pooed you in the past…, DON’T. Hold onto the grace you have within.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,
Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— Flat Faith, pt.10.