It has rightly been quoted, “When life gives you a lemon, turn it into a lemonade.”- Anonymous. That is an excellent way of breaking down the reality of life and the responses that many elicit. Some people receive the lemon, with all its cutting taste, and linger there. As sour as the taste stays in our mouths, many have allowed the difficult times that life brings their way to become sour and uncomfortable. On the other hand, lemonade is sweetened and more refreshing in comparison to raw lemon. It has nice sugar sweetness that makes it a good glass for anyone. A few of us can say that their responses in tough times have led them to a refreshing life journey. Wherever we may be, life is not fair, and no, it will not treat all of us the same.
Interpreting our past and present situations
Whether we shall ride the waves of life or be drowned is determined by how we choose to interpret the path of life we have walked in the right way. Often we find ourselves lost in self-condemnation and pitty. We hardly reason outside our perceived reality which is never a true reflection of what things are. An online dictionary defines perceived reality as a person’s subjective experience of reality, in contrast to objective, external reality. We know that our reality is in Christ if we are born again.
Our Reality outside Christ
When a person is outside Christ, they are without the inner ability to make choices in line with God’s design. Outside of Christ:
We have a sense of condemnation that leads to most of the self-victimization that we often see in hurting people. This one stems from the fact that, at birth, we inherited the sinful nature from Adam’s sin in the garden (Genesis 3), full of insecurities. We have hang-ups on what people did or are doing to us.
We have a deep sense of wanting to prove our worth because we feel worthless and rejected at the slightest adverse treatment. This kind of feeling pushes us to jump into drugs and even promiscuity (giving our bodies to others as a sign of loyalty and devotion), hoping to have a more grounded sense of acceptance. Sadly, we end up worse than we were before.
We have an inner desire to feel very important and significant in society, where significance is measured by how well-to-do we are or how big our name is compared to our mates.
Outside Christ, we cannot act in a manner that rids us of the traps set by the enemy to kill, steal and destroy us (John 10:10). Every step we make leads deeper into the lie until one day we’ll drown and never rise again. Therefore, those who live outside of Christ tend to be in shackles and chains of past events, which create horror for tomorrow’s unknown!
Our Reality in Christ
When a person is in Christ, they are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), and their old is gone, being replaced with the new. This exchange is a believer’s most significant victory. Why? Because contrary to popular thought, at salvation, God did not repair our heart instead exchanged it. Our new reality is that we are not the same person anymore. Our attitudes, passions, and desires are not changed but exchanged. So in Christ:
We are free from condemnation (Romans 8:1) from sin or even past experiences that made our heads bow low. Whatever traumatic experience or abuse that happened needs not put us down because the core of our lives has been transformed. All the guilt that would weigh us down and stigmatize us has lost its power.
We are now worthy people before the eyes of the Father. He has given us a new name (John 1:12), a hope for the future (Romans 5:5), as an assurance that our shame does not need to weigh down. We now do not need to go to drugs, sex, alcohol, and other things. We have eternal hope because we are already valued highly.
We also need not feel insignificant because we know the author of life is our guide and friend. When we understand that our significance comes not from the things we own but from the person we are inside, then life’s hurts and pains stop being why we opt for misery and regret. By his death (Christ) on the cross, we are eternally significant.
We often tend to be fixated on day-to-day experiences without considering the reality of a possible different turn of events later. Therefore for many of us, when people hurt us, we find it hard to move on- understandably so at times- and choose bitterness over forgiveness. The joy of being in Christ is such that our minds are renewed (Romans 12:2) and can tell the will of God. To chose bitterness is like (as someone rightly said) consuming poison and hoping that your enemy will die.
Bitterness is like a virus that spreads and eventually kills us. The medics will tell us that harbouring bitterness can cause an outbreak of ulcers and other gastric related symptoms. Depression which leads to most suicide cases, also lies in wait. But bitterness is also an evidenced walking in the flesh- in sin. Paul says in Ephesians 4:31 that we need to let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander out of us. Why? Because that is not how the Lord Christ has treated us. A healthy understanding of the work of Christ in us leads us away from a life of bitterness.