Contempt, described as "the feeling that a person or a thing is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving scorn" is not what I want to see coming out of me at anyone.
John Gottman, renowned relationship expert, discovered four markers of relationship failure with 93 percent accuracy in predicting divorce.
They apply to any relationship, really. Think of boss, coworker, friend--wherever there is strife. The four indicators are: criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling.
The Holy Spirit showed me many months ago this is the expression we must track in our hearts to root out bitterness and unforgiveness before we start demolishing hearts around us.
Look at how these characteristics feed off each other--if you feel criticized, you feel defensive.
If you feel criticized often enough you may surrender to contempt--of course, that person is deserving of my scorn.
Stonewalling is just what the kids call "ghosting" the relationship: you stop responding because they are not worth it.
I believe offense is the primary instigator. I don't like the way you did that or said it, repeat.
I used to drive by this one property every day wearing the expression above, because someone had back-doored me in a deal--and went straight to MY client without ME (how dare they!!).
The Lord asked me after many weeks of patiently enduring my expression--"would they be worth it to you?"
And I'm like, uh, rhymes with no.
But maybe since it is You asking, the real answer should be yes.
I guess considering what You paid for them: You think they're worth it, so You think I should, too.
I said, "So what do You want me to do?"
He said, "Forgive them. Remember, you can't be stolen from--you're stewarding what is mine. I give the power to make wealth."
I said, "Cool, I forgive them. Now, where is the favor-blast?"
He said, "No, not just like you mean it. Genuinely mean it and pray for them from that place. Like they're your own child."
And it took let's round down, more than a few tries but I actually did it.
And it broke.
And I felt it break.
And I prayed like I hadn't been able to in a long time for that individual.
And within a short period of time, I was rewarded in the context of that very property.
We are people.
We make the jumbo-dumbo mistakes. They're like my spiritual gift.
We act greedy and short-sighted sometimes and we are downright selfish and myopic.
But if you let my bad behavior tank your good behavior, those two wrongs spiral into dark un-lovely division. And it hurts.
Spiritual maturity looks like speedy forgiveness--whether someone asks for it or not, because you can get authority on their behalf with Him if you give them the one thing He bought and paid for--John 20:23 is a haunting invitation, "If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.".
He is trying to grow me up into the shape of His heart.
He is hanging from the cross and He says, "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they're doing." Talk about a ripe opportunity for offense and contempt...
And if He is for us, who can be against us?
That leads to a real change in heart and thereby countenance.