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Get Over It, Or Get Hung In It

Forty-two years in the church and forty years of preaching have convinced me one of the greatest pieces of advice any one of us could ever give or get is contained in the three little words that make up the title of this article — GET OVER IT! The Bible says as much in Romans 12:14, 17-19 — "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse ... Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord." How many people are angry and vengeful and filled with the spiritual acid of hatred to the point it "eats them alive?" How many are hung in the pain and anger of something that happened a month or year or decade or half century ago? Mired in anger and resentment, sitting and sulking until it has soured and festered and distilled into 100 proof un-forgiveness and malice? Refusing to let it go. As I look back over the decades, I wish I would have been more bold to tell some people to just get over it.

Somebody observed that people will do odd things to get even. It's true, isn't it? And if they can't get even, they just refuse to get over it. An old story tells about two shopkeepers who were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other, and they spent their days keeping track of each other's business. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival. One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers and said, "I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. Would you be rich? You can, but he will be twice as rich. Do you wish a long and healthy life? You can, but he will live twice as long. What is your desire?" The man frowned, thought for a moment, and said, "Here is my request — strike me blind in one eye!" Odd indeed. Forgiving others can be hard to do, but how often do we stop and consider the cost of not forgiving and getting over it? I once read these words from an unknown writer: "Forgivers pay a tremendous price for forgiving those who hurt them. But many fail to consider that un-forgivers pay an even greater price." That price includes a spiritual heart diseased with such things as "bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice." The Bible bluntly tells us to let such things "be put away from you" (Ephesians 4:31). The New International Version says even more bluntly to "get rid of" all these things. Get over it. Why? Because these things are the spiritual equivalent of the garbage and toxins and pollutants we take so much care to get and keep out of our houses. Yet, if harbored in our hearts, they "grieve the Holy Spirit of God" (Ephesians 4:30). They threaten our spiritual health and well being. No right thinking person desires to live in a house filled with garbage and trash and pollutants that hold the potential to harm or even kill the body. So why would we hang onto spiritual garbage like anger and malice and a desire for revenge? Go figure. Colin Powell once said, "Get mad, then get over it." Not bad advice. Similar to the Lord's counsel when others hurt you — either get over it, or you stay hung in it.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ