Bitterness tries to root itself within us. It is often resulted from encountering a slew of disappointments. Those disappointments and unmet expectations cause our perspective to become cynical, and distrusting of the motives of others. When it is left to rot, it results in pride.
It can be incredibly subtle how it manifest. Sometimes people who consider being the most forgiving can still find themselves wrestling when this feeling springs up. When it springs up, and it proves that true forgiveness hasn't completely developed.
Bitterness is defined as anger and disappointment at being mistreated; resentment. Bitter is causing a sharply unpleasant, painful, or stinging sensation; proceeding from or exhibiting strong animosity.
It is the result of expressing severe grief, anguish, or disappointment. It is marked by cynicism.
The healing process from a root of bitterness can be a wrestle because to heal completely; it forces us to humble ourselves and to release the tight grip of feeling justified and a sense of injustice we're holding on to.
There was a time when I wrestled with this.
I had allowed a crack to open up in my life because I got offended by a situation. Instead of giving it quickly over to God, I let the hurt turn into anger.
The bible says in Ephesians 4:26-27, "And don't sin by letting anger control you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil."
By not surrendering that offense, and submitting to forgiveness, I had unintentionally cracked Satan to work on that area in me. I wrestled with negative thinking about the situation and the person. I was waking up for a few mornings, angry, and quickly trying to tear that thing down.
I cried out to God and asked Him, "Lord, please help me to forgive as I've never been hurt."
I repented because I had allowed these little things to creep in, and it had ruined my ability to think goodness.
Although I had allowed God to come into my heart and mind and restore my heart, I will be honest that there was still bitterness. I knew it because whenever I thought about the situation or someone mentioned the person, and I would get a gut reaction that got me upset again.
I will tell you how I was humbled.
God brought the exact situation that I felt hurt by around to me. Only this time, I was in the opposite seat.
It's incredible how merciful and gracious we are when we're put in the same situation.
My response was to ask this person for forgiveness for the hurt I had caused. I did not realize how my actions had impacted her. It made me realize how, perhaps, this person who I had been holding the offense towards honestly did not know how I felt.
I turned to God immediately following that experience for humbling me and helping me to gain a different insight into the situation.
He is so faithful to give us wisdom and a perspective shift when we cry out to him.
I challenge you this week to begin to ask God to help you to surrender any anger, bitterness, resentment, offense, hurt, and unforgiveness you may have encountered. I press it on you to turn to the Holy Spirit for strength to truly surrender and yield this thing that has been a thorn in your flesh and has been impacting all of your other relationships.
As the inspired influencer community, we don't want anything holding us back from allowing God to use us as pure vessels in the earth. He needs our hearts to be right so we can reflect His holiness, righteousness, and love to those around us.
After all, "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (Matthew 5:13)
Lord, I don't want to be bitter; I want to be better. I know that nothing is impossible with you, and when I yield entirely to what I know is right, you are ready and willing to help me to do what is impossible in my strength.
Here's my heart, help me to forgive and heal.
In Jesus' name, amen.
For if you forgive other their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.