by Rod Davis
Someone once said, “To harbor bitterness toward someone is like swallowing poison and then waiting for that person to die.” It seems that we’re a society made up of angry people. If you doubt it just take a drive in heavy traffic. We are one stressed-out generation filled with rage and “eat up” with bitterness.
We’re angry with friends, family, fellow employees, employers and at life in general. Many of us are even mad at ourselves and exasperated over the results of bad choices that we’ve made. We find ourselves echoing the words of David, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” (Psalms 51:3 NIV)
We’re bitter over the way we’ve been treated by those around us. Incredibly, we expect, and even demand justice from an unjust world! And then we become all bent out of shape when we don’t get it.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” — Jesus (John16:33 NIV)
We seem to forget these words of Jesus. The phrase he used was “In this world you will have trouble.” He didn’t say, “Maybe you will…” or, “There’s a good chance that you will….” No, Jesus said that we could count on having trouble in the world. Why? The reason is simple. It’s because the world is filled with those pesky little things called…people. For as you know, people are anything but perfect. They will frequently let you down, disappoint you, sadden you, lie to you and break promises. There are times when they will downright run over you. Of this you can be sure. But what can you expect—perfection from imperfection?
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. (1Peter 4:12 NIV)
Considering this fact; why should we be hurt and embittered when someone rattles our cage? Hey, we were warned. We have little control over the cards life deals us, but as Christians, we do have control over how we play those cards. I personally know of people who have virtually sacrificed their lives on the altar of bitterness. They have surrendered their will to its ghastly power. Thus, letting bitterness, like a deadly cancer, consume their hope and peace. It’s a self-ingested poison that destroys homes, marriages and devastates churches.
“For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” (Acts 8:23 NIV)
Bitterness is a slow suicide that lays to waste potential greatness in the Kingdom of God. It’s one of the ugliest forms of pride and is a slap in the face of the One who “was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth”. (Isaiah 53:7) It’s little wonder that God’s WORD commands us to “get rid of all bitterness.”
More from God’s WORD…
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” – Jesus (Mark 11:25 NIV)
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. (Luke 11:4 NIV)
“If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.’ – Jesus (Luke 17:4 NIV)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one other. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13 NIV
This bitterness you hide It seeps into your soul And it steals your joy ‘Til it’s all you know Let it go
Will you forgive? Will you forget? Will you live what you know? He left his rights Will you leave yours? You don’t understand it Let it go *
* Let It Go by the Newsboys, from their album Take Me to Your Leader. Lyrics by Steve Taylor and Peter Furler. © 1996 Dawn Treader Music (SESAC) / Warner Alliance Music / Soylent Tunes (ASCAP), Dawn Treader Music admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing. Warner Alliance Music / Soylent Tunes admin. by I.C.G.