Happy, Blessed Monday!
We’ve probably all known someone, someone who has been hurt or angered by something that they just can’t seem to move beyond. Sometimes, it is temporary, they just need a little time to sort things out and maybe even extend some grace and forgiveness. Other times, their entire world finally revolves around that hurt and anger. The bitterness grows until that’s all there is in their world.
For me, the saddest part of this is that they create a rift between God and themselves.
Colossians 3:13 says “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
They forsake God in order to justify the continued bitterness and lack of forgiveness. Eventually, it affects everyone around them. Unfortunately, if unresolved, it’s like a cancer. It grows and gradually destroys the one who is harboring these feelings, while rarely having an effect on the target of those feelings.
So, is there hope? I believe there is always hope, right up to our final breath. Our God is a God of miracles. He can change hearts and lives.
As His ministers, how do we react? It isn’t always easy, but I believe we need to love them even on their most unlovable days. Occasionally, that love may involve stepping back to refresh, then love them some more. Present an aura of peace that can only come from God, while not allowing yourself to be the punching bag. That can occur, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually too.
Meanwhile, stay strong in the Lord! HE is our strength and hope!
Holding onto a little bit of offense, a little bit of unforgiveness, a little bit of resentment might not seem like that big of a deal.
But Scripture tells us that if we go through this life harboring bitterness toward others and even God, we’re actually defiling many. (Hebrews 12:15) This is because bitterness isn’t just personal . . . it’s corporate. It leaks out like liquid acid onto every person we touch.
Bitterness often wears the disguise of other chaotic emotions. The grudge that feels increasingly heavy inside of us. The desire for the ones that hurt us to suffer. Frustrations with God for not doling out severe enough consequences. Seething anger over the unfairness of it all that grows more intense over time. Covertly recruiting others to our side under the guise of processing or venting.
Sadly, undealt with bitterness can end up ruining our relationships and our witness.
But if we will choose to pursue unity and peace within the family of God, letting Him sweep our hearts clean of bitterness through the process of forgiveness, we can become a sign to a broken and hurting world of what is to come in Christ. Our lives can point them toward the forgiveness and reconciliation they need that can only be found through Jesus. This is because the Church is the visible representation of the “already” of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth and the “not yet” of the final consummation of Christ’s return.
Please know this isn’t a message about justifying, allowing, or ignoring abuse or injustice. But when we give evidence to the inner workings of Jesus by trading anger for kindness, resentment for compassion, and bitterness for gentleness and forgiveness… it splits this cold world wide open with the warmth of Jesus.
Not one person who sees it walks away unaffected.