We’re all human and thus susceptible to bitterness and resentment. We go through things, we get misunderstood and mistreated, and we deal with situations that we sometimes just cannot understand. The enemy will use any opportunity to get bitterness to take root in our hearts. We have to be on guard against this. We also have to be mindful that we don’t become the cause of bitterness in others. The root of bitterness can begin to grow when we are young, and it can be so subtle that we don’t realize what is happening/has happened to us. Let me give you 3 examples, starting with Regina.
Regina resented the way she was raised. She didn’t know how to deal with the shame, pain and, no doubt, rejection that came with such a poverty stricken life. It didn’t help that her parents, professing Christians always had her siblings and her in church. It also did not help that they put God out front to take the blame for their responsibilities (a subject for another post). Her young life threw more at her than she knew how to process and deal with. Her childhood provided a prime condition for satan to work!
I am sure you can imagine satan’s whispers to the young, disheartened and confused Regina. Can’t you just see him pointing out all the people who were better off than she was, better “quality” than her folks? Can’t you see him walking beside her through the years, just fertilizing the root of bitterness and resentment planted when she was just a little one? Can you see Regina living life without ever recognizing the enemy’s handiwork in her life?
Regina’s life is a gazillion times better than it was growing up; she has money, a nice home, she wants for nothing (she thinks), and she even has a prominent position at the church. People seek her out for advice and she always has something “profound” to impart. Regina has “made it;” she’s finally like the Joneses, only better!
Bitterness and resentment hide behind her “good life.” It hides behind her prosperous and wise reputation. Regina doesn’t recognize her heart’s condition; she is blinded by her success and the fact that her life surpasses the one of childhood. She thinks she’s fine because her life is “good” while the enemy of her soul stands on the sidelines and laughs, licking his lips because he got another one.
Let’s look at Micah and Barbara.
Like Regina, Micah and Barbara are wounded. The circumstances of their lives presented prime conditions for bitterness to take residence. Unless we’ve already gone through similar circumstances we cannot say 100% how we’d be affected. What blow will life hit us with that will slam us right at the proverbial fork in the road? Will the pain be so great that, like Micah, we don’t know what to do with it? Will it affect our lives so deeply that, like Barbara, we feel so justified in how we feel that we don’t recognize our bitterness/resentment? Maybe you grew up like Regina and vowed never to be brought to open shame because of poverty and ignorance again. Has the experience hidden a lifetime of bitterness/ resentment?
I totally get it, I really do. I know from personal experience what it is like not to realize your heart houses resentment/bitterness.
I am a stuffer. Since I was a child I have stuffed away disappointment, hurt, embarrassment, devastation and the like. I’d push it away and tell myself it didn’t matter, I was “OK” with whatever was said or done to me. The truth is I wasn’t okay, I just didn’t deal with it; I ignored myself. I too had hidden resentment and bitterness over the hurtful things I had to endure. I may not have gone as far as the three individuals above, but I closed up and tried my best to forget about myself. I soon felt more like a thing than a person. I didn’t realize I housed bitterness and resentment until God had someone reveal it to me!
Have you reached that point? Maybe you’ve changed after a painful situation and, like Micah, don’t like who you’ve become. Maybe you’ve been nursing every hurt you’ve experienced at the hands of others and you don’t know how to stop. Maybe, like me, you would never have thought you had bitterness or resentment in your heart because you’ve told yourself nothing matters. There is hope today. You can get rid of the root of bitterness and resentment. Keep reading as I reveal 6 steps to freedom.
We know from Scripture that the opportunity for bitterness comes with the territory as human beings. The Bible teaches us to guard against bitterness (Hebrews 12:14-15). It also tells us that it is something we must get rid of (Ephesians 4:31-32). If God tells us to do something then it is possible for us to do it, and He equips us to do it right? Right!
Tell God about it! Lay it all at the Lord’s feet; all of it!
Cast all of your cares upon Him for He Cares for You! 1 Peter 5:7
Admit it happened, accept that it happened, recognize it hurt and how you feel about it. Accept that it wasn’t right, and realize that you don’t have to like or feel good about the experience.
Forgive person(s) who wronged you.
This is more for your benefit. It frees you, and closes a door to the enemy! Forgive them. You will not be able to reject bitterness if you don’t forgive. It may not always be easy to forgive so ask God to help you truly forgive. Matt 6:14-15; Mark 11:25; Col 3:13; Matt 18:21-22
Pray for those who have wronged you, mistreated you, etc…
Matt 5:44; Luke 6:28; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60
Love those who have wronged you.
I know what you may be thinking, but I promise I have not lost my mind. Our first thought is not to do good to those undeserving souls who’ve hurt us, but it is the only way. In order to keep bitterness out of out of our heart we must obey Scripture. We have to love those who have wronged us; we have to bless them, be kind to them. Remember, Christ is our example. Jesus, who was mistreated and abused worse that we can imagine, loved and forgave his enemies; He loved and forgave us!
Luke 6:27-28; Luke 6:34-35; 1 Peter 2:23; 1 Peter 3:9; Romans 12:14; Romans 12:20-21
Allow yourself to LET IT GO
Do not keep rehashing the wrong over and over in your mind.
Do not entertain thoughts of revenge or harm to the individual.
Do not allow yourself to think unlovingly about those who wronged you.
KEEP THE MIND OF CHRIST
Until Next Time!
Let’s talk about it.
Have you ever been hurt to the point you became bitter?
Were you able to overcome it?