Friday, September 19, 2008

Nightmare on?

I'm sure there were plenty of nights where Joseph woke up in a cold sweat having had a bad dream about what his brothers to him when he was a teenager. Maybe he dreamed of the cruel abuses suffered while a slave or the brutal beatings in his early days of imprisonment. All of us have nightmares. But some of us don't have them just while asleep, we live in them throughout the day.

Dreams are our hopes and aspirations for the future. Many do not allow this "future consciousness" to guide them forward because they live in the painful past. The energy required to fuel a God-given dream is consumed living in nightmares gone by. Joseph seemed to have found a way to reject the victim mentality and avoided bitterness against God. But just as significant, he was able to forgive his brothers who had wronged him and reconcile conflict. This allowed for the total fulfillment of his dream-a dream he no doubt did not fully understand until it came true.

I believe many have their dreams significantly diminished if not completely destroyed by unreconciled conflict in their past. Refusal to forgive allows the past to live in the present and blinds me from seeing the hope of my dreams. Many people ruin their health and their hope by taking the poison of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. Matthew 18:23-35 tells us that if we do not forgive people, we get turned over to the torturers. If you have a problem in this area or have ever had one, I’m sure you know what I’m saying. It’s torture to have hateful thoughts toward another person rolling around inside your head. What is worse is that those hateful thoughts from the past always turn into hurtful actions in the present sabotaging countless opportunities. Even people you want to love may be suffering from your bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness.

Do not allow the nightmares to live on. Choose to forgive and reconcile when possible. Do not leave behind you a trail of broken relationships-it will eventually catch up with you. Instead listen to the counsel of Jesus: Luke 6:27-28 (NIV) 27 "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
These are choices that save our dreams and wake us up from the nightmare. This is how we keep the nightmares of our past from living in our future. Sweet Dreams!

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