Today my feelings are in a sense trying to strangle me. They are in my throat wanting to escape. It is not that I am fighting them, I am just trying to understand them. They are a mixture of emotions, somewhat like a paper bag of jelly beans, not knowing the flavor you are going to receive until it comes out of the bag. It would appear that one of the feelings at the very surface is bitterness – and it is leaving a bitter taste on my palette. Do you have any bitterness stuck in your throat, wanting desperately to be released ?
How Do We Become Bitter.
We become bitter by letting anger and hatred control us.
“Esau hated Jacob because he had stolen his blessing” ~~ Genesis 27:41
“What a happy man Haman was as he left the banquet! But when he saw Mordecai sitting at the gate, not standing up or trembling nervously before him, he was furious.” ~~ Esther 5:9
The definition of control is: the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.
I don’t know about you, but I know that I have allowed bitterness at times to control me. There have been times when I have held on to anger and sat in the corner – licking my wounds. I have had others enable me by encouraging me to be angry. Let’s face it — I knew who to go to when I wanted that validation. My anger has caused me to have struggles in my relationships with others. It also has affected my relationship with myself and sadly, with God. I am learning (and re-learning) healthier ways to deal with my anger.
We become bitter when we demand our way and stop forgiving and forgetting
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger…Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” ~~ Ephesians 4:31-32
When I was working at a recovery home,as I was leaving for the day, I would often say, “be good and be kind”. This was to encourage the ladies to be mindful of their actions – towards others – as well as towards themselves.
I recently was given the opportunity to engage with a person who was a bully towards me. It is safe to say that I had angry feelings as a result of my previous interactions with her. I hadn’t had much contact with her for several months and I knew that I was going to be seeing her. In all honesty I had some anxiety over it. With God’s help I was able to face my anxiety head on. I didn’t go out of my way to engage with her, but when it was presented to me, I was not rude. It was during this time that I realized I was no longer angry. In fact, to my surprise, I actually felt compassion towards her.
We become bitter by forgetting God’s grace, which is showered upon us each day.
“Watch out that no bitter root rises up among you, for whatever it springs up, many are corrupted by its poison.” ~~ Hebrews 12:15
If we are rooted in bitterness, the fruit in our lives will wither and die. In order for the fruit in our lives to flourish and grow, it must be seeded with love.
Lets face it – love isn’t always easy. Or at least it isn’t always easy for me. There have been times in my life (sadly too many to count) that I had no real love in my heart for certain people. The good news — is that I knew someone who has enough love to share. I have a vessel that I can go to that fills me with love that is overflowing. The love of Christ is so refreshing and life-bearing. It can bring even the most damaged and broken people, restoration and healing. It is through Christ’s love that I have been able to sow love into the lives of others
There are times when simple forgiveness can relieve a lifetime of bitterness. Recovery from deeply rooted or intense bitterness may be as complex as the reasons for the bitterness, but it may also be as simple as three spoken words. “I forgive you.”
“Now is the time to forgive him and comfort him. Otherwise he may become so discouraged that he won’t be able to recover” ~~ 2 Corinthians 2:7
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one missesg the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” ~~ Hebrews 12-14-15*
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” ~~ Colossians 3:12-14*
Not An Easy Choice
It wasn’t easy to overcome my anger (really more hurt disguised as anger). I had to work through my thoughts and my feelings. The process didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen. I know that I couldn’t have gotten through it, without the Lord leading and guiding me. It required me to let go and to let God. I had to make the choice to forgive. You see, forgiveness is more a choice than it is a feeling. If I am waiting to “feel like” forgiving – it would be like me waiting at a bus stop and all buses are out of commission. The feelings do come (eventually), but it is after the choice is made. Is there anyone that you need to make the “choice” to forgive?
The Gift of Peace from Bitterness
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!” ~~ Isaiah 26:3
I am a huge fan of peace. It is what helps me steer my life. It is not comfortable to live without it. Every day I am given the opportunity to let peace lead me. I get to choose how I am going to treat people and how I am going to respond to the way people choose to treat me. My grandma used to tell me – you get more bees with honey. I think what she meant is that it’s important to be good and to be kind. It is a blessing to be able to walk in peace. I am grateful that I have the choice to live with bitterness embedded in my heart or to release it and exchange it for His love and His grace. It isn’t always an easy choice but it far outweighs the other in regards to quality of life.
Are you walking in peace? If not, are you willing to exchange your bitterness for forgiveness? Your hurts and anger for healing and grace?
Prayer To Overcome Bitterness
Father God, Your love heals. Your love makes me whole and it completes me. Forgive me for the offense that I have been holding on to. I ask that You also forgive me for the unforgiveness and bitterness that I have been nurturing deep within my heart. Please bring to the forefront of my mind anyone that I have a resentment with. ( you may want to pause and allow God to speak to your heart) I ask that You forgive me for holding on to them.
Today I am making a choice to let go of all offense, bitterness, resentments and unforgiveness. ( you can share with God who and what they are) I exchange these for Your love, grace and Your peace. Please heal my heart from the wounds that have taken residence there. I understand that bitterness kills, and love gives life. Today I am choosing life. I pray that You will bless those who have hurt me and that You will give them whatever it is that they are in need of today. May you continue to lead and guide me as You teach me Your ways. This journey is not always easy, however with You all things are possible. Thank You for loving me and for helping me on my journey.
~~ In Jesus’ name – Amen
Interested in reading more Christian Devotionals? https://www.shelleylangelaar.com/category/devotions/
Blessings ~ 💞💞💞