It was that time of year again. The day I could take a bite of the first watermelon of the season from our local farmer’s market. Several people had shared their opinion on facebook, saying how great these first watermelons were, I couldn’t wait for that first bite. I knew it was a little early, but still, my expectation was high after the reports I had read. However, as I took that first bite, I was not impressed. It wasn’t nearly as good as all the hype.
Expectations – they can be a funny thing, can’t they? I fully expected the bite of watermelon to be wonderful, but that was not the case. As these thoughts ran through my head, God began to talk to me about expectations, and how we have unrealistic expectations not only from things in our personal life, but from other people as well.
Expectation is defined as; a strong belief that something will happen or be the case.
How many times do we find ourselves in situations with people when we expect them to respond or act a certain way? How often is that not the case? What happens when our expectations are not realized? This is what God spoke to me concerning this question…
“Unfulfilled expectations lead to disappointment. Disappointment can lead to resentment. Resentment leads to a root of bitterness, a root of bitterness defiles many.”
I have seen this happen in my own life. I may find myself in a situation where I expect someone to respond a certain way and when they don’t, I not only become disappointed but also resentment will try to set in. If I allow resentment, bitterness is not far behind. And a root of bitterness is difficult to remove once it settles in our heart.
Hebrews 12:14-15 says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.”
The New Life Translation says it like this, “Be at peace with all men. Live a holy life. No one will see the Lord without having that kind of life. See that no one misses God’s loving-favor. Do not let wrong thoughts about others get started among you. If you do, many people will be turned to a life of sin.”
I love how the New Life Translation says it… “don’t let wrong thoughts about others get started among you.”
Disappointment, resentment, and bitterness all begin, or start, in our thought life. We can’t allow negative thoughts about others to remain in our mind. We must instead, choose to say and think, what God and His Word says about the person.
According to scripture, bitterness, which defiles many, begins when we allow wrong thoughts to enter and remain in our thoughts. We cannot afford to do that. It will lead us down a road we don’t want to travel.
Perhaps today you find yourself in a situation where you expected people to respond or react in a certain way and that was not the case? If so, check your heart and make sure you don’t allow disappointment in their reaction to settle in your mind or heart. Refuse to become resentful of them, instead pray for them and pray for yourself. That your heart will remain pure and pliable before God. Just because someone else responds in a way we don’t expect, or in a wrong way, it doesn’t mean we have to follow that example. We can still choose to rise above it and respond with the love, grace, and mercy of God. We can remain in peace if we choose to go God’s way.
My friend, daily pursue peace with all people. With your friends, your family and those around you. Pursue peace and refuse resentment and bitterness. Give your disappointments to God and don’t allow them to take root in you. This is the way to sustained peace with those around you, and with God. This…is the only way.