Bitterness. What a fun thing to experience. It eats at you, distracts you, causes you to lose sleep, makes you feel angry and keeps the hurt feelings right at the surface of your heart.
We’ve all had our feelings hurt at one time or another. People have sinned against us. They have been thoughtless toward us. Some have intentionally been mean or hurtful to us. Others have treated us with disrespect. Some have made us feel like a little piece of dirt that is worth nothing more than to be tossed out to the wind.
None of that feels good. None of that causes us to smile, to be happy or to feel loved. Hurtful words and actions from others are painful to endure, whether they were intended to cause pain or not.
It’s okay to be angry. Anger is a God given emotion and a natural feeling after someone has wronged us.
But we don’t get to run a bath full of anger and soak in it.
Most of the time, when I am angry at someone…they are completely clueless that they have hurt me or made me angry. I’ll have countless “conversations in my head” with that person in which I effectively set the record straight, and oh so eloquently let them know how right I am and how wrong they are and boy do I let them have it! In my head. Over and over. And over. What a completely unproductive use of my time and brain power.
This is where bitterness creeps in.
It’s hard to let go of anger. I hold onto it because I want to “punish” the person who hurt me. Instead, all I’m doing is punishing myself, making myself physically sick with the cancer of bitterness.
The way I see it, I have three choices: I can choose to go to the person and resolve the issue, forgive and move on. If I truly can’t bring myself to go to the person and work through the problem of my hurt, then I HAVE to choose to just let go of it.
Otherwise, I’m making the third choice…the choice to be bitter.
Clearly, resentment is a choice. We didn’t choose for someone to hurt us, but if we remain unforgiving and ugly-hearted, we are choosing resentment.
We are not allowed to say, “Everything he has done to me has made me SO BITTER.” Nope. He may have hurt you, but he didn’t make you bitter. You chose to be bitter.
Deciding to let go of bitterness and forgive…it’s hard. It’s painful. It’s gut-wrenching. It takes much prayer and an absolute surrender of your self.
And then it’s freeing. So, so freeing.
Oh the ways God can use us when our hearts are free of bitterness! And oh how we are stuck in a trap of ugly, painful memories when we choose not to let it go.
Resentment is a choice. What will you choose?
I’m writing this post generically, because there are so many people in our lives we can become resentful toward. However, I’m also categorizing this post in our Becoming a Better Help Meet series. If you are choosing to be resentful toward your husband, can I urge you to repent? It’s easy to let bitterness become a part of you when/if your husband continues to hurt you, or fails to listen to you and meet your needs. All of those actions and attitudes hurt…there’s no doubt about it. But don’t choose bitterness. You’re hurting yourself and you’re hurting your marriage.