One day three guardians named Anger, Resentment, and Bitterness stepped into my heart, and one day I decided they needed a come-to-Jesus moment.
“I’m tired, says Bitterness. “I don’t want to carry this anymore. I’m willing for You to take what’s in my heart. I just don’t know how to give it to You.”
“I’ve been waiting for you,” says Jesus. And He stretches out a full-length cloak to place around the guardian’s shoulders, but Bitterness resists.
“I’m too dirty and ragged. I don’t want a cloak to cover me.”
Jesus smiles. “I was just measuring to see if it fits.”
“That’s okay,” He says. “Now, let’s see . . . what shall we do with you?” He has a teasing twinkle in His eye.
“I just want to be clean!” Bitterness cries.
Jesus smiles and nods toward a nearby pool of Living Water. Bitterness leaps in, splashing and laughing as the cool water soaks into his scabs and melts away the dirty garments. He’s fascinated the water doesn’t turn murky as a result.
Little Emotion, now free at last, says, “I’ve been trapped here for so long, but Bitterness was too strong for me.”
Bitterness asks forgiveness of Little Emotion. “I was just trying to protect you,” he says.
“I forgive you,” she replies. “And thank you.” I watch as they hug.
Then Little Emotion eagerly runs to Jesus. “Can I have a cloak too?” she asks.
“In a minute,” He replies. “You have some wounded places that need healing first.” And He touches some spots on her shoulders, her back, and down her torso. In fact, the more spots He touches, the more appear. But when He touches them, they begin to glow, like they’re radioactive or something. I don’t understand what’s happening.
“This is just revealing where all the hidden spots are,” He explains.
“So many!” she cries.
“Not too many,” He says. He turns her around and examines each one. “There, I think we have them all,” He declares.
“Now what? What are You waiting for?” she demands.
His eyes are kind. “You’ll see.”
There’s an eruption in the earth at our feet, like an explosion, and a cylindrical structure rises from the depths. What in the world?? At first, I think it’s from the netherworld, the work of the underground, but Jesus says He wouldn’t allow that on my castle grounds.
It’s a Guard Tower, a turret, located on the back, right corner of the property, near the little pool. The three Guardians are curious. “For us?” they ask in wonder?
Jesus laughs and hands each one a cloak, just their size. Resentment, Anger, and Bitterness rush up the stairs, exploring their new digs. “So cool! Look how far we can see! Jesus, can we have some weapons too?! And please, can we change our names? We don’t like the old ones.”
And Little Emotion steps forward, tugs on His robe, and weeps. “Please, Sir, can I have one too?”
He kneels and embraces her. “Let it all out, Honey,” He says. And all the glowing spots begin to fall off like they’re made of plastic discs, clink, clink, clink on the ground. And still she weeps until the tears run dry.
“Little Flower,” He calls her, and slips a strange cloak around her shoulders made of multi-colored fabric petals. She doesn’t particularly care for it. “I’d rather have a rainbow one,” she declares, and it immediately turns into many colors. “Or a tiger-striped one” and it changes instantly.
“What kind of a cloak is this?” she wonders. “It’s not what I expected.”
“What did you expect?”
“Something soft and shimmery and golden or something.”
“Ahhh,” He says. “This is a special cloak. It is not fake, like you thought. (How did He know she was thinking that?) It changes with your mood. People can see what you’re feeling according to what color and shape it is. Bitterness hid the real you. You are now free to feel what you feel and enjoy the shifting and changing inside. It’s the beginning of Joy.”
“I’m related to Joy?” she exclaims.
“Yes, Little Flower. You may run along now to the castle, if you wish, and see her.”
The three Guardians are giggling and racing around and poking their heads through the openings in the turret. Jesus laughs with them. “Ready for your new names?” He calls.
They stampede down the stairs, nearly tripping over their new garments. These might take some getting used to, they think.
They line up in a row in front of Jesus, panting.
“You,” He declares, pointing to Resentment, “are Forgiveness.”
“And you, Anger, are Guardian.”
“And you, Bitterness, shall be called Sweetness.”
“Sweet! Can I have some candy? Preferably bittersweet chocolate?”
Jesus laughs. “Go on with you. There’s some in your drawer in your quarters upstairs.”
Forgiveness kneels before Jesus. “Jesus, I’m sorry for staying away from You so long. I’m sorry I held Little Emotion captive.”
“Ah, dear child, you are already forgiven. I took that for you two thousand years ago. Welcome home! And thank you for trying to help. I appreciate that.”
“I like Your way better, though, Jesus. Thank You.”
“Guardian!” He commands. “Step forward please.”
Anger Guardian bows his head, ashamed of his role in this little drama.
Jesus kneels, lifts his chin, and looks him in the eyes. “You did your job the best you knew how. There is no shame in that. Thank you for doing your part to protect Emotion. Are you willing to try My way now?”
“Of course, Jesus! It would be foolish to go back to my former life.”
Jesus nods sadly, “Yes it would. But I have a feeling you might change your mind under different circumstances. When you’re in the thick of the battle, you might resort to your old cloak again. But I promise to be there with you. As soon as you realize you’re doing that, I’ll be right there to exchange cloaks again for you if you wish. All you have to do is ask.”
“I’ll try to remember. I like Your way better than mine.”
Guardian bows to his Lord. “I’m still feeling bad.”
“I don’t know . . . I don’t like me very much when I use the old cloak. It’s not who You made me to be.”
“You’re not? Did you know I get angry sometimes?”
Guardian’s head pops up. “Really? You!? But I thought we weren’t supposed to use that cloak.”
“Oh no, my child. I don’t use that one. I use the one I gave you. I created you for a reason. You are a protector, a guardian. Your new Anger Cloak is for defending others who need it. When you defend yourself with the old cloak, you hide yourself from Me. When you defend yourself or others with your new cloak, you become strong and effective in battle.”
Guardian scratches his head. “I have to think about that,” he says. “How will I know which cloak I’m wearing?”
“They look quite different, don’t you think? But if you’re confused, just check with Little Flower. She’ll help you decide, for she can tell the difference. The old cloak will start squeezing her, and she’ll begin to feel restricted again. I suspect she’ll let you know when that happens,” He says with a wink.
“I love you, Jesus. And thank you.”
“You’re welcome. I love you too.”