Two of the most devastating of human emotions can be feelings of bitterness and the smoldering embers of un-forgiveness.
If you aren’t mindful, both will repeatedly flare up by replaying past events that had involved conflict that ended with a stalemate, no resolve and the “hunkering down” into the foxhole of victimization.
Un-forgiveness and bitterness can clandestinely creep in and settle down to root in our lives. Sometimes we don’t even know how much it consumes our thought life and feelings. Before we know it, we are captured in the claws of the sin of unforgiveness.
Perhaps it starts with hurt feelings over what was said, another’s actions, or even a lack of response. We mull it over, and over. It festers in our gut. Our spirit can be crushed.
We can get hard and bitter feelings about the person that we “feel” offended us. Perhaps you might want to get “even” at the other person. Before long, hurt feelings can lead to a host of other actions, including slander against the offending person, or avoidance of that person.
Often one party may even gather around themselves others to help take up the offense the person has to help reinforce their position of woundedness. There’s pitting of the others against the individual whom the person (growing ever bitter) needs to exact revenge from. Punish and ostracize the imperfect!
The hurt accomplished may not even be recognized by the offender. They may not even have a clue as to how one is reacting to their remarks or actions; yet the offendee’s bitterness digs deeper and deeper into their life.
Holding a grudge against another can be so devastating to some that it affects their health. Anger can be a result of bitterness! When angry, adrenaline and other hormones are released into the bloodstream, they cause high blood pressure and a faster beating heart.
Depression, ulcers, heart attack, and stroke have also been linked to those that are controlled by the stress of bitterness and unforgiveness.
Not forgiving, and not attempting to forget the offense, can also lead people to do or say things to the offender that they would never think of doing or saying. Bitterness can indeed “bind and blind” a person’s life.
All people have wrongs done to them sometime in their lives that hurt their feelings. Some let them roll off their shoulders and go on with their life; others stew and never let go of what another has done to them.
The Bible has much to say about bitterness and forgiving one another. Here is a glimpse of what is said in the Bible:
God says not to be bitter or hold a grudge! “It’s not that easy to not be bitter,” is very often said. This is true, but no sin is easy to stop. In order to have a healthy life, and a good relationship with God, bitterness has to be halted.
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour [to complain, utter loud noises], and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice,” Ephesians 4:31.
Forgive those that wronged you.
“Take heed to yourselves: If your brother trespasses against you, warn him; and if he repents, forgive him,” Luke 17:3.
“Christ knows all you did to harm too! Yet He still has forgiven all you have done, if you are saved!” (John 3:16)
“And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you,” Ephesians 4:32.
“Forbearing [to restrain from action against another] one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also must you,” Colossians 3:13.
Dear reader… let the LORD have access to the dungeon you locked others into with bitterness and unforgiving punishment. Look at the log in your eye! It’s blocking the truth of the situation and turning your heart into a hard and cold stone!
Right now…. this moment! Grasp the hand of God and ask Him to forgive you for not forgiving! Ask Him to break you out of your bitter cycle of wanting revenge and the “right” to hold others feet over the fire until they “learn their lesson”.
The fruit of true freedom is only produced when forgiveness is generously and genuinely expressed.
Tell the LORD… you need help. He can help free you…. as you humble yourself in His presence.
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
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Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the USA and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.