Faith / Friendship / Life Lessons / Personal Struggles / Spiritual Bondage

To Every Rose It’s Thorn

Confession:  Lately, I have been listening to 80’s Rock Ballads.  No, I never would have believed it myself.   I never believed I would want to venture back in time to listen to music  that I heard while growing up.  But it happened.  Sometimes we come to a  point  when we realize,  the old is better than the new.  So for the sake of nostalgia we go back.  We go back to old guitars, to big distortion, big hair and the amazing vocals of the 80’s, where Guns and Roses, Aerosmith, Poison and Def Leopard ruled the airwaves.

 

Photo:Larisa Koshkina
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One of my favorite tunes was Guns N’ Roses, Every Rose Has Its Thorn.

You remember:

Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn
Yeah, it does

I suppose every decade has its thorns as well.  That’s probably why it took me well beyond 2K to start listening to 80’s music again.  Perhaps once the painful thorn is removed we can get back to recalling the rosy part.  Music is like that.  It’s like a lint roller with adhesive, it clings to whatever it is your going through;  music attaches itself to your memory as chewing gum to a park bench.  When you hear an old song, you just remember;  a love affair of the heart, a pain, a trial, a place of innocence, an era of your life which has been long forgotten.  But the songs stay with us and so do the memories.  We take the good and throw out the bad.

As a Christian, I’ve found that “letting go” of the bad is sometimes more difficult than I would like to admit.  Of course, forgiveness is key, in any and every situation where we are hurt;  Just as Jesus went to the Cross to die for our sin debt, was crucified, buried and raised from the dead on the third day, we are asked, in light of His awesome sacrifice, to show that same forgiveness to others.  It is, at times, easier said than done.  It is the act of surrender, dying to oneself, letting go.

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As a highly sensitive person, I have struggled over the years with getting easily offended.  Now, I learned fairly early on in my walk with the Lord that the spiritual attacks from non-Christians were coming straight from the enemy.  But, the one thing that through me for a loop, more than anything else, was when the attacks came from Christians;  and not just any Christians – but leaders, elders and people with mighty titles attached to their name.  It was like the offense was magnified and amplified to such an extreme, because I had such high expectations of these men and women.  At one point, the offense was so bitter, that it was like someone through a wrench in the wheel, and my spiritual walk just came to a screeching halt.  I could not understand why or how these attacks could be coming from such notable Christians who God was using boldly to do His work.

Then, I began to understand that Satan is behind every spiritual attack.  He is the one who comes to steal our peace, our joy and our unity in the body.  Jesus stated, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” (John 10:10).  The enemy will use our weaknesses, our sinful nature to try and cause offense.  This is his will:  To trap us into being offended.  The fruit of offense is obvious:  bitterness, anger, resentment, hostility, disharmony, strife.  And this was the place I kept finding myself over and over, until finally I had a breakthrough.

98% of the battle is won by just being able to recognize the enemy’s strategy  –  to offend.  Once we can see that the offense is a spiritual attack and not so much a personal one, we are half way there.

Photo:Karen Arnold
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“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” (Ephesians 6:12).  The truth is, that pride is almost always at the root of an offense.  Recently, the Lord gave me a revelation into some of the things that were causing me to be so easily offended.  When I began to connect the dots, it was obvious that I was struggling with some sinful habits that were actually contributing and exasperating the problem.  It is very easy to point the finger at someone else and put all the blame on others.  However, if you do some digging you may find out, like I did, that our “issues” usually always point back to us, one way or another.

I guess, in life, every rose does have it’s thorn.  The important thing is forgiveness.  We are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit if we have received Christ as our Savior.  Spiritual maturity comes as we yield ourselves to God.

Though we go through difficult seasons of growing up in our faith, let us learn to hold onto the good.  For there is a season for everything under heaven.   “A time to seek, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to cast away,” (Ecclesiasties 3:6).