Bitterness is like an uncontrolled weed. It tangles, confuses, and chokes healthy growth in one’s soul. Then it infiltrates those you love.
Bitterness stems from hurt, often undeserved cruel treatment. Therefore, our anger can feel justified.
One day I asked the Lord, “Why am I answering people so harshly? Why is it hard for me to respond with kindness?” Quietly in my soul, and I believe by God’s Spirit, the words came to me … “because you have allowed a root of bitterness to grow”.
Twenty years before, I was on my knees asking God to never allow a root of bitterness to grow in me. I had seen the fruit of bitterness, how it hurt people and those around them. I did not want bitterness in me. But bitterness had taken root.
I knew Ephesians 4:31 well, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger …”
“GET RID of ….” Those words sounded easy, like throwing out unwanted items.
I also noticed the verse did NOT continue, “Except for Sandy, because she has a reason to be bitter.”
“OK, Lord, I hear You. But how? Show me how to remove this root. I need You. The pain is too deep within me.”
Have you experienced the Holy Spirit as your comforter, your helper? He is always waiting for us to ask! He knew I needed a clear, simple, direct plan. Together we made an action game.
It began with my favorite childhood verse, I Peter 5:7 “…casting ALL your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” When I was hurt and upset, I privately went to our bedroom … yes, sometimes angrily cursing … telling God everything I felt. He can handle our raw emotions. He knows them anyway and NOTHING is hidden from Him.
For the bitter root to be removed I knew forgiveness was paramount. After I told Him all my struggle and asked Him to forgive me for my part … my sins … I held out my hands like an altar before Him, visualizing this person outstretched on “my altar.”
“God I lift him up to You. You are the ultimate judge and I release him to You. I pronounce forgiveness on him because You have forgiven my many sins. I trust You to deal with him better than I can. He is yours.” Then I prayed for him. The emotion of love wasn’t there, but I stated truth, and released and placed him in God’s hands instead of judging him myself. God will judge others better than our anger can!
Over months I persistently repeated this process. Each occurrence took 5 -10 minutes. Then one day I realized the sting of bitterness was gone.
New events and relationships come. Yes, I still get hurt and angry. But I know Who to run to and how to deal with my own heart first.
I treasure Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” NIV
Are you struggling with bitterness?
God has a plan to set you free!