In this last segment for this month’s movie “Daddy’s Little Girl”, I want to talk about the one person we have not mentioned in depth – Jennifer (Tasha Smith), Monty’s ex. We briefly meet her mother in the beginning of the movie before she dies of lung cancer. But where was her father? Did she ever know him? Had she ever experienced his warm embrace, only for it to be prematurely snatched away by death or divorce? Does she blame her mother for driving her father off? What caused her so much pain to grow into the cold & callous woman we see? Perhaps she did know her father’s touch, but it was not warm and certainly not invited. After an encounter with her, Julia says Monty has lousy choice in women. But he says that was not the girl he knew in high school and the one he married. What caused her to morph? What would make a person change so much/be despised so that no one sees the need to even tell her when her mother died?
Think back to your relationship with your father, another relative, some childhood friend who you have not spoken to civilly for a number of years. What caused the breach? What were the exact words said? Most of you can’t remember and yet you play the recording in your mind “they hurt my feelings and I hate them.”
If the episode was twenty years ago and the pain is still too great to apologize, you have become a certified DG – oh, I am not referring to a daddy’s girl, but what I like to call a Dust Gatherer. A Dust Gatherer is one who allows one incident to dictate the rest of their life. You become a magnet for sin. It does not negate the fact it could have been a traumatic experience, but the problem is you let a speck of dust grow into a big fur ball that’s stuck in the back of your mind; causing even trivial things to reek havoc in your home, church, job, and friendships. How? Sins of the attitude just seem to multiply when left unchecked.
Take for instance bitterness. Bitterness refers to a settled hostility that poisons the whole inner man. Somebody does something we do not like, so we harbor ill will against him. Bitterness leads to wrath, which is the explosion on the outside of the feelings on the inside. This fierce anger often leads to fighting – fighting with fists, or fighting with words. It is difficult to believe that Christians would act this way, but they do, and this is why Paul admonishes us in Ephesians 4 to dwell in unity:
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
Does this not describe Jennifer to a T? Can you also see a little of yourself in there too? This type of behavior stems from an attitude of entitlement. When you have experienced lack, harm or rejection, especially when you are missing the presence of a father, you begin to feel the world owes you and you will go to any lengths to collect.
Well, Paul gives three reasons why we must avoid bitterness. First, it grieves the Holy Spirit. He lives within the Christian, and when the heart is filled with bitterness and anger, the Spirit grieves. The Holy Spirit is happiest in an atmosphere of love, joy, and peace, for these are the “fruit of the Spirit” that He produces in our lives as we obey Him. We certainly lose the joy of our salvation and the fullness of the Spirit’s blessing when we harbor ill will.
Second, our sin grieves God the Son, who died for us. Third, it grieves God the Father who forgave us when we trusted Christ. Here Paul put his finger on the basic cause of a bitter attitude: We cannot forgive people. An unforgiving spirit is the devil’s playground, and before long it becomes the Christian’s battleground. If somebody hurts us, either deliberately or unintentionally, and we do not forgive him, then we begin to develop bitterness within, which hardens the heart. We should be tender-hearted and kind, but bitterness in the heart makes us treat others the way Satan treats them, when we should treat others the way God has treated us. In His gracious kindness, God has forgiven us, and we should forgive others.
Most people say we should forgive because all that stuff is not hurting the person – we are only hurting ourselves. Because when sin is full grown it brings forth death – your death. Jesus said if you don’t forgive, you will not be forgiven. He knows he cannot move on your behalf if you do not let stuff go, so learn how to forgive and forget so you can experience a happy Christian life.
And think about it, after all you have been through, why do you still want to wear the grave clothes? Right now you have an opportunity to take your mind back, your freedom back, and your authority back. Declare over your self – “I have been raised from the dead by the blood of the Lamb; I am shaking the dust off of my past, and I speak the words that Jesus said of Lazarus: “Loose me, and let me go!” I belong to God: I am special, I am forgiven, and I am loved.