How to become a Grinch.

Grinch. The word, or rather the name Grinch was created by Dr. Suess in the book, how the Grinch stole Christmas.  IF anyone has never seen either of the movies or the TV special, here is the main theme, the Grinch hates Christmas, and he makes it his purpose to stop Christmas from coming.  He doesn’t like the joy and happiness, the gifts, the traditions, the music or any other aspect of Christmas that the Whos, the people from the fictional town he is from, Whoville, all love and celebrate almost excessively.  In the movie, we find that there is a back story to why the Grinch hates it all so much, and it gives us some insight into why he his is the way he is.  When we meet people, who are curmudgeons, nasty or just plain unhappy, there will just about always be a back story, a reason, a hurt or a pain or situation that led them to their current state of bitterness.  While the Grinch is an entirely fictional story and character, the concepts and feeling the Grinch deals with around Christmas can be common to us and can lead us to experiencing some grinchiness ourselves.  This series isn’t going to test your knowledge of the movie or TV show but will serve as a launching pad to help us expose what some of us may feel or deal with in others during Christmas or even year round, the series will focus on, the grinch in all of us.

There is a perfect example of the becoming a Grinch in the Bible, out of the book of 1 Samuel 18:5-12, the story of King Saul and David being welcomed home after a huge military victory.

1 Sam 18:5-7 David marched out with the army and was successful in everything Saul sent him to do. Saul put him in command of the fighting men, which pleased all the people and Saul’s servants as well. As the troops were coming back, when David was returning from killing the Philistine, the women came out from all the cities of Israel to meet King Saul, singing and dancing with tambourines, with shouts of joy, and with three-stringed instruments. As they danced, the women sang: Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands…….

SUCCESS, David was successful in everything and therefore, so was the army.  The text says successful in everything Saul sent him to do.  It would make sense then that as David was successful, Saul was successful.  Saul is the one who promoted David to this position and sent him out on this mission.  David was fully submitted to Saul and sought to serve him well in every way. David knew the way to be blessed. It was to work hard, to be a blessing to his boss. He would not undercut Saul’s position or authority in any way.  God is never calling or directing us to set others up for failure.  God will never ask us to lie or deceive or manipulate people or situations.  But God does call us to do our work as though we are doing it for the Lord. Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people. Even if our boss is a jerk, even if we feel like to the work is beneath us, even if no one notices or appreciates it.  This is what David did, which should have brought more joy, pleasure and happiness to King Saul.

PLEASED, All the people and Saul’s servants were pleased at the appointment of David as leader of the army.  David led the army in a way the pleased the people, but make no mistake, David was not a people pleaser, he was a God pleaser. David grew in respect of fellow men because he was a man after God’s own heart, his success wasn’t for any other reason. Proverbs 29:2 When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan. Saul made a wise decision to put David in charge. You would think the reaction from King Saul would be one of satisfaction or feeling good that his decision was well received by everyone. 

SINGING AND DANCING, SHOUTS OF JOY, AND WITH THREE STRINGED INSTRUMENTS, This is the purest expression of joy, thankfulness, and gratitude from the women of Israel.  The women were pouring out their gifts and talents to show their appreciation of King Saul, David and the army.  When people are in the streets singing and dancing upon your return, you’re popular.  David became expectantly popular very quickly. The song they were singing was the #1 hit in Israel at the time and David was the beloved son of the country.  Like a new young hot shot in town, the women loved him, and the men wanted to be like him.  David was credited with killing his tens of thousands, while King Saul was credited with killing his thousands.  The joy and adoration of an entire country being poured out on Saul’s army for the victory they secured. 

In all three of these examples of the good, joy and happiness happening at the time. One can hardly justify being anything but happy for the King and his army.  Israel has secured a massive victory, the people are rejoicing, Saul has found himself a great general for the army who is humble and righteous.  A heart focused on the positives going on and the Lord, would be happy, excited and rejoicing with the rest of the country. But, that is not the case. Just like at Christmas, the birth of our savior, it seems like everyone is singing and happy, the kids are excited, yet still, sometimes we’re just unhappy.

1 Samuel 18:8-12 Saul was furious and resented this song. “They credited tens of thousands to David,” he complained, “but they only credited me with thousands. What more can he have but the kingdom?” So Saul watched David jealously from that day forward. The next day an evil spirit sent from God came powerfully on Saul, and he began to rave inside the palace. David was playing the lyre as usual, but Saul was holding a spear, and he threw it, thinking, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David got away from him twice. Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had left Saul.

FURIOUS AND RESENTMENT, Saul was anger that the song the women sang said David killed far more enemies than he did, he resented the song, he is the king, he should be the one being adorn and loved, not David.  These first two qualities that will lead us to becoming a Grinch are anger and resentment.  We all get angry, no doubt.  But what do we do next? To we lean into our relationship with the Lord and give it up to Him?  To we stew for a few hours, then repent and move one?  Or do we take our anger and build on it emotionally?  When we use anger as an emotional building block in our hearts, we can count on resentment showing up as well.  Anger can serve us well and lead up to making a positive change or stop us from sinning in the future.  But we can’t allow anger to stay long.  If it stays long enough to usher in resentment, you know it’s overstayed its welcome.  Resentment is bitterness.  If the root of bitterness has a chance to grab hold and dig in its claws, hate will be right behind it.  Anger to resentment, Resentment to bitterness, bitterness to hate. This is the enemies process of separating us from God, it’s a timeless tradition of the devil, to ruin people, destroy lives and sever families and friendships and make people Grinchy. 

Step 1 of how to become a Grinch, is holding on the anger and building resentment.   

We never make our best decisions when we are angry. Allow yourself and those you love some space and grace and love when they say or do something in anger. I would never want the be stuck with worse of me becoming my decision maker.

HE COMPLAINED, the most basic reaction to resentment is complaining, to ourselves at first “Ive got it bad, this is unfair, I deserve better than this”, then to others “have you seen how bad I have it, let me tell you want this person did to me, have you heard about this person”, eventually to anyone who will listen.  If we complain enough and to enough people, we will garner support and find someone who will join us in our misery, but in the process, we will push away everyone else.  We all know a chronic complainer, someone who always have something that’s not right, something that is unfair, something that someone did to them, its draining, its draining to the person doing the complaining and draining to the people who have to hear it, complaining about people leads to gossip and slander and sometimes just straight up lies, to embellish the situation enough to gain support.  Here’s the truth, when we complain, we excuse ourselves from any responsibility in our own life, by putting the responsibility on someone else.  When we give responsibility for our happiness to others, we will always be lacking, we will always be dissatisfied.  The way to stop resentment and anger is to stop complaining.  So, what about venting and getting things off our chest? Those are good things, but often come off as complaining.  Here is my thought, if we are telling someone about a situation and they offer some wisdom or insight or not, and then that’s the end of it, that’s venting.  If we are telling someone about a situation with the goal of raising support for our feelings or reactions, and keep telling different people until we get the desired response to validate our stance and feelings, that’s complaining.   

Step 2 of how to become a Grinch is to be a complainer.  

SLIDE 8

WHAT MORE CAN HE HAVE BUT THE KINGDOM, Exaggerating things in our minds, exaggerated thoughts running wild, having a pity party, feeling sorry for yourself, even if its valid.  One of the worst things we can do is never allow anyone else into our lives on a deeper level.  Usually, when I get to this point, of my mind running wild with scenarios and possibilities and exaggerated truth, all I have to do it verbalize it and suddenly, I get perspective. The crazy train in my head hits a wall and the things that seemed so possible, now suddenly seem irrational. 

Step 3 of how to become a Grinch is to make mountains out of molehills in our minds.

SAUL WATCHED DAVID WITH JEALOUSY, sinful jealousy, not the good kind that God has for us, but the kind that leads to sin. Now Saul’s mind is filled with suspicion towards David. He begins to hear most everything David says with suspicious ears. He looks at David’s actions with suspicious eyes. His thoughts were twisted by suspicion. He gave way to that devilish vice of envy, which burned like a fire in his heart, like a sickness continually gnawing upon his soul … He looked at him with an evil eye: adding his own twist to every action of David and making the worst of everything.  The enemy loves to get our focus off of Jesus and on other things, and people are the perfect bait.  The bait of comparison, watching others have success and joy can make a jealous heart ache and burn.

Step 4 of how to become a Grinch is a jealous heart.  

RAVE INSIDE THE PALACE, sin and sinful thought gives the enemy a foothold in your mind.  Saul came up with a sinful plot to stop David.  Saul’s mind was no foggy, he had allowed the enemy full access to himself through his thoughts and actions.  Every sin starts with a though, for Saul it was the first thought of anger and resentment that took over his mind, heart and life. 

Step 5 of how to become a Grinch is woller in sin and sinful thought.

SAUL WAS AFRAID, the final straw is fear, fear is what we are left with when we travel down this road.  The Bible warns us over and over, DO NOT FEAR, hundreds of time in Gods Word we are told do not fear, do not be afraid, fear not, over and over.  Fear is the enemies hold field.  Saul was afraid of David because he knew the Lord God was with David and had left Saul.  Living in fear stops almost everything else from functioning properly in our lives. 

My wife and I have been on a Star Wars kick lately, we decided to watch every episode and refresh ourselves before the new one comes out this Christmas. Anyway, my wife noted something interesting as we were watching, “the Jedi never seem to be afraid or worried” she said. Isn’t that the truth. Qui Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi model Godly peace as well as anyone I’ve ever seen. In jest I say that, but we could learn a lot about Biblical inner peace from the Jedi.

A mature Christian, living in full submission to God’s call and purpose has a peace about them that doesn’t waiver.  Peace is the opposite of fear.  After the resurrection, When Jesus found the disciples locked in the upper room afraid, the first thing He said was, Peace be with You.  Jesus did not want His disciples living a life of fear, locked in a room. 

Step 6 of how to become a Grinch is to live in fear.

That should do it, if you follow these six quick and easy steps to becoming Grinchy, you should have no problem living in misery and bitterness on a mountain top in no time.

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