THE DISEASE OF BITTERNESS

Written by Ashley Price

Bitterness is a poison.

Have you ever been hurt so badly by someone that you felt it in your soul? It hurt so bad that you could feel it physically – in your muscles, heart, and lungs. If you haven’t been in that place, consider yourself a blessed person, but I think most of us can relate to this experience.

The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me,” is crap. Sorry for the vulgarity, but whoever made up that saying is an idiot. Words hurts. Actions hurt. Anything that involves a lack of love or awareness of feelings on another person’s behalf hurts. The thing is, another person’s words or actions can be like a poison. One wound that another person places on you is similar to the wound on a body that doesn’t heal, and if left untouched it forces itself to other parts of the body through infection, causing death to the limbs and sickness to the whole person.

Bitterness is a disease that God wants you to let Him heal.

Another person leaves a wound in your heart, and unless you forgive – unless you let go and move on – it will start to infect your whole self. It slowly becomes a part of who you are and how you react to people. The saying, “Hurt people, hurt people,” is true. If you let bitterness settle in, bitterness will come out through your own words and actions. You might not purposely set out to hurt others, but realize bitterness left untouched has a by product of hurting others.

God does not sit back and let people hurt you. The fact that sin is in the world is why this happened to you. His heart for you hurts too. He sees you. God doesn’t believe the words said about you and the actions done to you. You have a choice of whether to believe that God is out to let you be hurt or that He can use these situations to further His kingdom. The Bible says people will hate you and the devil is out to destroy you, and it’s unfortunate when that comes from people that you trust.

He wants you to live in this way:

“And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:30-32 NLT

Just as this verse says above, the only way I have learned to combat this kind of resentment in my heart has been two different ways:

First, if we better understand the words that God speaks over us – “My child, My loved one, I value you, I created you…” – then whatever has happened to me or you in the past won’t hold us back from the future. Trust that God’s view of us is the only important view and that humans will be humans and their actions are actually a by-product of sin. Then we can move forward knowing that bitterness should not settle in us. God is working all situations for good, but because we are humans, we sometimes don’t understand God’s concept of good.

Second, people are going to hurt you; your family, friends, and church are all capable of this. An attribute of God that gets overlooked, I believe, is His kindness. If we can see others the way that God sees others, that He could actually end this whole earth in a moment, but He chooses not to, we can better let go of any kind of resentment. We can allow them and ourselves to have a little grace over our situations. Jesus took His life, sacrificed it for us, knowing that many will turn their faces away from Him AND defile His name, yet He did it anyway. We didn’t even exist yet and He was willing to do that for us. Shame on us for hanging on to hurts (“truth”) coming from imperfect people. IT’S NOT TRUTH. God is perfect, people are not. The good in people reflects the character of God, the bad reflects the fallen nature of man. Find your truth in that.

Let this begin to heal you today: the only way to let go is to begin to understand the full extent of God’s love for us. That’s not simple, but it’s a start. Ask Him for this clarity.

I’m in this with you! Don’t let bitterness hold you back from the joy and peace God has for you moving forward.

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ASHLEY PRICE is an aspiring writer and speaker. She currently works in the healthcare field, but has a passion for ministry and leading others to have a passionate relationship with Jesus. She loves working with students and encouraging younger generations to seek Christ first.  When she isn’t serving at church in the youth ministry, she spends her time outdoors and with friends. Follow her on Instagram: @ashleyprice_

Like this? Check out her other post: The Blessing of Rejection.

 


Photo © Fraser Graham. Creative Commons License.

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