The Altar is too Crowded

I confided to a friend that I am harboring a feeling of resentment toward someone. This friend responded with firm kindness, “You need to lay that on the altar”.

I thought about this, struggling with the tension of knowing she was right, on the one hand, and knowing I didn’t want to, on the other.

After a long silence, I said, “The altar is too crowded”.

I didn’t need anybody to problem solve that dilemma for me. The only reason for the altar to be crowded is that I must be laying things on it but not burning them. Is it possible that I don’t want to burn them in case I want to take them back?

Knowing I was in over my head, I asked God directly why the person I resent with such passion is in my life. I prayed, “I want this answer to be from You, God. I don’t want to make something up”. As I waited I realized I was asking the wrong question.

So, I changed the question to “How do I respond (to this person who I resent) in a way that would bring glory to You, God. Again I asked that He speak to me clearly so that I didn’t craft my own answer.

I sensed Him say to me, “Whose life is it? “

This brought to mind a quote from a wise Indian Pastor, “We tend to be living sacrifices that keep crawling off the altar!”

I want to lay my resentment on the altar. I want to set it ablaze. I want to remember that I have presented myself as a living sacrifice. I don’t want to crawl off the altar…

Does God ask the impossible of us because He loves us so intensely that He doesn’t give us assignments we can complete without Him?

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5 Responses to The Altar is too Crowded

  1. this is a tough one. My advice would be to take it in baby steps. Perhaps instead of laying it on the altar, you could start with not saying anything negative in that person. 2nd step – try to think of one good thing about that person and focus on that thing. and go from there. Eventually, perhaps you’ll be able to let go of that resentment.

    • rstaples2013 says:

      Thank you for this reply. I agree it is a tough one. How do you see taking the steps you suggest intersecting with surrendering it to the Holy Spirit? This is not a challenge, it is a genuine request for dialogue

      • I think by making a conscious decision to take those steps you are removing some of the boundaries keeping the Holy Spirit from working within you. You must give It an opening.

  2. I think he wants us to be reminded that we need his strength and love to get through because ours alone just isn’t enough! Great Post!

  3. rstaples2013 says:

    I am intrigued by the creative steps God will take to protect His jealous love for us. If my needs could be met by someone other than Him, I would probably not be seeking Him so intensely. Thank you for your comment. i welcome further dialogue.

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