Are we really responsible for what we think about? Of course we are!

Proverbs 4:23…
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.
Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
 —–
One of the enemy’s tricks is to plant bad thoughts, evil thoughts, in your mind about other people, often other saints, followers of Jesus.  Here’s what happens.  Someone, say, a friend in church, says something mean about you, perhaps even innocently, or not.  They might do it to your face but often not.  It’s usually behind your back.  In any case, you hear about it.  And, well, this offends you — in fact you allow yourself to take offense — and, yep, off to the races your mind goes.   
You could go talk to the individual.  Most never do this.  You could totally ignore it like water off a duck’s back.  That’s pretty hard to do.  So what happens — what you actually do — is play this event over and over in your mind, riding the escalator of revenge.  The enemy loves it when you do this, especially lacing your vengeful thoughts with poignant Bible verses.  You think of the perfect retort where you are in charge, where you are the aggressor, where you win!.  As you ride that escalator of revenge you think of the perfect one-liner where you put “your enemy” (never mind that they are a church leader or your next door neighbor) in their place once and for all.  After all,  “They deserve it!”
My advice (with most of my fingers pointed at myself), don’t do that.  
Instead, shut off the escalator of revenge in your mind.  Don’t take offense.  Don’t dwell on what you will do to get them back, to embarrass them, or to somehow replay over and over a scenario where you come out on top as the hero and they get humbled and destroyed … by you.
But you say you can’t help thinking about what happened.  Well, you don’t have to dwell on it.  Friends, we are responsible for what we think about.  “But I can’t help it.”  Aah, of course can, with God’s help.  Because if you don’t, and you decide to play your hurt feelings over and over, they will come out, and perhaps — even likely —  when you least expect it.  Your anger, fear, and bitterness will overflow, not to speak of what it might do to your health and longevity.  “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks,” says Jesus.  
That’s why Philippians 4:8 needs to be one of those verses we commit to memory and get it planted deeply in our heart.  
Jesus said to pray for our enemies and do good to those who hurt you.  What an incredibly counter-intuitive, revolutionary thought.  But that’s what we signed up for.  Right?

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