Bitterness is like gangrene, with a paperweight on the end. First it starts to eat up your insides, starting with your heart and then working its way outward until every part of your body is consumed with its raging fire. After you have been efficiently torn apart internally by this beast, it begins to work on the outside, transforming your smile into an ugly snarl, making the cheerful lines you once had around your mouth develop into nothing beautiful. Maybe you start to wonder why people do not call as often to hang around you, or attempt to make you laugh as often. You might slowly begin to resemble Gollum in both actions and appearance (I’m kind of kidding here).
Bitterness is a disease. One that ravishes and rapes the heart and mind until there is nothing left of you but a shell of a person. It knows what its doing. It knows it is destroying you. And once you let it in, it can be as difficult to remove as the blood stains from a murder scene.
The enemy knows what he is doing. He knows that our mind is like a jail cell, and once something enters that cell, finding the key to let it out and destroy it at sentencing is a challenge within itself.
Bitterness kind of reminds me of worry. It’s like a rocking chair, except you get nowhere in it, and all you have done is waste a lot of time trying to mentally take care of something our Father has already declared he will take care of. Why do we keep attempting to find the life raft when Dad already has hold of one? Maybe because with faith, we cannot see the results immediately, and so we attempt to quicken the process, to find a way to ensure the deed gets done, even if that means doing it ourselves. After all, we cannot be lazy if we expect Him to do things for us. This thinking is totally incorrect. But, before I get off track, let me say I’ll attempt to write a separate post about worry so that I don’t consume this one with my ramblings on another topic.
In my life, I have struggled a lot with bitterness off and on. Given a lot of the things I have been through, some might even say I’m allowed to feel unjust anger towards the people who have hurt me, because what they did was awful. I used to agree with them, think that harboring my own little corner in my mind for this hurt and brokenness I felt was all right because it was MY own corner and really, what bad could come of someone discovering I had been dwelling on what I felt was a multitude of transgressions that had transpired against me? I discovered, a lot.
See, once we allow ourselves that little space to dwell on the hurt someone exacted upon us, like a weed on fertilizer, it begins to grow until it is difficult to handle. It might have only began as bitterness towards the major transgressions in life but then suddenly you realize that you are now becoming angry at everything. A little side remark someone said that really should not have mattered has you seething in your bed three days later because your warped mind begins to think they purposely attempted to destroy you with those five little words. You think you have it under control and then BAM! you don’t know who you are anymore. After all, we are definitely what we think. And bitterness takes up a lot of our mental time and capacity.
I will not lie, sometimes bitterness is a daily battle for me. I wake up one morning angry at my past circumstances, and then my Father reminds me to hand them over to Him, allow Him to carry my burdens for me so He can do a creative work on my soul. And let me tell you, when He is done completing his work, I find I am even more beautiful before than I was when I started. It’s all connected. You can’t keep part of yourself to yourself and hope to be a whole being. I’ll say it again–stop holding back. You don’t know better than your Maker. Let Him fight your battles for you, find the rope, and bring you home.
When I began the journey to remove the bitterness, I wasn’t sure where to start. I confessed to a few people I knew, and even some strangers knowing someone had to have answers. And I was handed a book. One of the lines in the book said “be better, not bitter.” I related so well to that. I needed to stop being bitter and angry at past circumstances, but instead become a better person because of them. I needed to give them up. Let me tell you, when I allowed the Lord to work in my life in this area, I found refreshment brand new, because I realized, some of the things that happened to me because it was what the other person thought was best in that moment. We all perceive things differently, and while someone might not know they hurt me, I was devastated. But beginning to let God in my dark, secret places, allowed Him to move in me a peace that overwhelmed the hurt, the broken pieces, and the pain. We think that by holding on to all of that we will fix the problem, it will help with the coping. And I’m not saying for those going through a traumatic event, being angry is wrong, but after years or months of constantly dwelling on what happened, it might be time to allow yourself to heal. I’m not saying forget about it, I haven’t forgotten about what happened to me. Instead, I have allowed my pain to transform. I realized that some of the things that happened were not intended to destroy me, but I perceived them that way. And that’s not wrong or bad, but I needed to alter my thinking at the altar to realize that. If something horrible has happened to, please, see what happens when you give up and give God.
I could go on, but I think that what I have said here is enough for today. I hope this post impacts someone in some way. If it has moved you, please leave a comment. If you have questions or would like me to expand on something, let me know, I am happy to help.