Just outside the gate
“A Trojan Horse sits just outside the gate of your heart. Its name is bitterness. It is a monument to every attack you have endured from your fellow human beings. It is a gift left by the people who have wronged you…It is rightfully yours. But to accept the gift is to invite ruin into your life.” – Andy Stanley
Whoa. I don’t know about you, but that hits me hard. What jumps out most at me is the sentence “It is rightfully yours.” How often do we hang onto hurts and resentment simply because they are understandable, even justified?
If you think Stanley is wrong in warning that bitterness leads to ruin, I challenge you to watch the news and ask yourself how many of the stories of mayhem and violence have their roots in bitterness. Then think of some of the most inspiring, uplifting tales you have heard. Chances are, many of them feature a huge dose of forgiveness, understanding or willingness to move beyond hurt.
In today’s world, the Trojan Horse evokes thoughts of computer viruses that sneak onto hard drives and work widespread damage. It’s not a bad metaphor for the malevolent influence of resentment in our hearts. It sneaks into areas where it has no relevance, tainting what once was helpful, destroying any chance of happiness, new friendships and future success.
We cannot afford to accept this treacherous gift, no matter how appealing it may seem. It may have a sinister, seductive beauty about it. It may be large, and hard to get rid of. We may need outside help to deal with it safely. But we cannot afford to keep it.
Is there a Trojan Horse outside your gate? I’m working on dismantling mine. If you have one, I hope you’ll join me in neutralizing the evil influence of bitterness. It’s not easy, but the alternative is ultimately much worse.