Have you been wronged, deeply? Is the acid of bitterness eating you up?
Bitterness is the resentment-filled residue of pain suffered. It helps us keep the memory of that pain fresh so we can feel good about acting badly.
Bitterness is an acid that eats its own container. It seduces us into thinking everyone else is wrong and we alone see the situation correctly.
Bitterness is hurts us much more than we know. Bitterness crushes joy. Bitterness fractures relationship. But most of all, bitterness is sin, an arrow launched at the very heart of God.
On the cross Jesus died, not only to pay the penalty for our sinful thoughts and actions, but also for the sinful actions done to us. God's forgiveness of us, rightly understood, can help us forgive others. We don't deserve it, and in our minds, they don't either. But the grace that now allows us to stand free and accepted before Almighty God is also the grace that can free us from bitterness.
God's grace frees us from having to settle the accounts by leaving them to God. It humbles us to see we are no better than those who have hurt us. But mostly, God's grace allows us to stop letting the pain of the past rent space in our hearts and lives.
Bitterness is the resentment-filled residue of past pain, that keeps its memory fresh, so we can feel good about acting badly. Forgiveness is erasing the residue.
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you" (Ephesians 4:31,32).