Bitterness….Not a Good Look!

This is a touchy subject for me. As someone who has worked for the last three years to rid my soul of anguish and grudges, I have found that it is a daily struggle to make sure you are not harboring feelings of bitterness, which in turn will make you a cold person and stunt your progress. While I’m a work in progress (like we all are), I thought I would again post an oldie but goodie on the affects of bitterness on ones life. Big shout out to my lil sis for bringing somethings to my attention…so I can be a better big sister and child of God. Hope this blesses you as it did me.  The orAKAle has spoken……………………..

How Bitterness Affects Us
by: Charles F. Stanley

Do you become critical of certain people the moment their names are mentioned? Is there anyone in your past upon whom you would enjoy taking revenge? Did somebody reject you years ago in such a way that still hurts when you think about it?

If you answered ?yes? to any of these questions, you might be harboring unforgiveness. The Bible warns us not to allow resentment to get a foothold in our lives. The book of Hebrews tells us to ?see to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled? (Heb. 12:15).

For the believer, resentment is never the right response to suffering, no matter what people have done to us. We may not even be consciously aware that we are nursing bitterness, but its consequences are subtle and many.

Physical Illnesses
Bitterness is like a continually running machine that uses our bodies for its energy source. Medical professionals consistently are finding links between the way our bodies function and the way we think. Resentment, anger, and other negative emotions have been associated with glandular problems, high blood pressure, cardiac disorders, ulcers and a host of other physical ailments.

I saw this illustrated through some friends of mine whom I will call the Browns. Mrs. Brown had cancer, so she and her husband sought the best medical treatment. Her doctor had been studying the relationship between negative emotions and cancer. Day after day, he went to talk to her about her past. One day, in the midst of their conversation, she began to cry. She confessed bitterness towards her parents that had happened years ago. When she got it all out, she was freed, liberated and forgiven. It is the doctor?s opinion that Mrs. Brown would not have recovered had she not rid herself of that resentment.

Stained Relationships
Bitterness causes one person trouble and defiles others. As used in Hebrews 12:15, the Greek word for defile (miaino) means ?to stain? or ?to dye.? The resentment we harbor will stain our relationships. This is one reason why there are so many separations, divorces and broken homes.

One couple I counseled illustrates this principle. Despite the wife?s best attempts to love her husband, she couldn?t break through his hardened emotional wall. Through counseling, we discovered that he couldn?t forgive his mother for dying when he was twelve. He was mad at his mother for leaving him, and his anger was staining his marriage.

Bitterness can paralyze us.
Even when we genuinely want to love another person, we can?t. Spouses, parents and children wonder why they can?t break through the barrier and experience genuine love. But deep inside, these people may find themselves infected by roots of anger and resentment, even simmering hatred.

Bitterness has so many little sprouts to it. Distrust is one of them. Insecurity is another. When the Bible says to ?see to it that ? no root of bitterness (springs) up,? it is because the consequences are so awesome and ongoing.

Spiritual Stumbling Blocks
Bitterness creates a cloak of guilt. We know we shouldn?t feel the way we do toward others, and we know God doesn?t want us to be full of resentment. We sense a barrier between God and ourselves and begin to doubt our salvation.

Bitterness also hinders our influence for Christ. What kind of Christian testimony can we have if we are resentful toward God and toward our neighbors? How can we convincingly talk to others about the forgiveness of God when we refuse to forgive those who have wronged us? When we allow bitterness to take over our lives, it spills over into the lives of those around us.

Ed and Nancy had a story book wedding, and they excitedly made plans for their family. They would have a boy and a girl. Sure enough, their firstborn was a boy. But the second pregnancy had complications, and the doctor told them this would be their last child. Unfortunately?from Nancy?s point of view?their second child was also a boy. Nancy couldn?t bring herself to love her younger child, blaming him for robbing her of the little girl she always wanted. Eventually, she divorced Ed for not understanding her and declined custody of either son. Her bitterness destroyed their small family.

How many of us harbor offenses? How many of us are angry adults because we don?t feel loved? We need to deal with negative feelings about those who have hurt or wronged us. An unforgiving spirit is a devastating attitude that none of us can afford. Determine today to let go of bitterness, and be set free to enjoy life again.

Adapted from “The Gift of Forgiveness” (1991)
Note: Read our Bible study, Winning over Bitterness, and learn how to find freedom from anger, resentment and unforgiveness.

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