Bound by Bitterness

Bill Brinkworth

One of the most devastating human emotions can be feelings of bitterness. It can creep in to our lives. Sometimes we do not 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 feelings about the person that we feel offended us. Perhaps those hurt 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.

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, causing 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 a person’s life.

All 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:

Unforgiveness, and the bitterness that often follows, does not help matters, nor change anything. The hurt feelings of bringing the matter up repeatedly certainly digs its trap deeper and deeper. The only way to get peace is to forgive.

“It’s easy for you to say; you don’t know what that person did to me.” You are right. I do not know, but I do know that carrying and harboring that bitterness is going to hurt you and others around you. Your only choices are to let it fester, or get rid of it. Hopefully, you truly want to get rid of it.

Although, you hear again and again to forget, most of us humans cannot forget. Only God can forget, when He chooses. We may not be able to get it out of our minds, but we can do our best not to let it come to mind.

“How do you do that?” Our Saviour fought off temptation with scriptures. That is the only remedy for any battle. When the thought enters your mind, repeat a verse, hopefully one that is about the sin you are tempted with and quote it repeatedly. It is hard to harbor thoughts of darkness and sin, when your mind is flooded with light! Praying about the problem and seeking God’s solution are the only way to have victory over your hurt feelings.

We all battle hurt feelings. It is our choice how we handle them. God is clear that we should not let those temptations rule and destroy our life. Instead of getting bitter, and even blaming God about a matter, it is the time to get close to him. It is during those hard times that we learn of his mercy and grace.

People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.” — Will Rogers

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