Disagreements are common in relationships. So are hurt feelings. It is our job to prepare our hearts ahead of time for these moments. Always allowing room for errors. Always being quick to forgive. However, the question remains, how do you genuinely show love when you have been hurt by someone’s actions? It is so easy to become offended and allow bitterness to set in.
Bitterness grows out of our refusal to let go. It is the complete resistance and unwillingness to let go of the injury or wound caused by someone’s words or actions. It is constantly being hurt by a memory and holding on to the hurt until it has a complete grip upon you. Bitterness is often categorized by unforgiveness.
Once the root of bitterness sets in, it begins to rob us of our peace. It affects our decision making. It spreads throughout our entire being and begins to corrupt every area of our lives. It is often displayed in jealousy, anger, dissatisfaction, and division. It can only be dispelled by love. If you have been dealing with the root of bitterness, you can be free. There is hope for you just as it was for me. It starts with a choice. Choose to let it go.
It is not right for us to hang other people’s mistakes, sins, or ill spoken words over their heads. This is a lesson the Holy Spirit began to minister to my heart a long time ago. It all started with this scripture in 1 Timothy 1:5 (NASB) But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. You see love does not keep an account of the wrong done to it. It does not keep bringing it up in times of disagreements. This is not forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the wrong suffered and trusting the Lord to bring healing to our hearts. It is His desire that we keep our hearts tender so that we may receive from Him.
Too often, we look to the one that hurt us to make everything right and to make up for what was done. This is not realistic. They can never repay or repair the damage we have experienced. Only the Lord can mend our brokenness and bind up our wounds. Matthew 6:14-15 in the Amplified Bible paints a perfect picture of our responsibility in times like these: For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.
We often say we forgive, but do we? If we did, why is it still an issue? I believe many of us still struggle with the area of forgiveness because we never seek healing of the wounds that were caused. We never let go of the resentment. Resentment is a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury. It is normally expressed through annoyance, anger, or bitterness. According to Hebrews 12:15 when bitterness comes in it begins to take root and springs up to cause trouble, hurting many of us in our spiritual lives. Yes bitterness, unforgiveness, and offense are blessing blockers. They are traps from the enemy that keep us entangled so that we will not walk in God’s best. Most of all these issues of the heart keep us from receiving the very forgiveness we often stand in need of.
In order for us to move forward we must let it all go. The wounds that we experienced can be healed if we allow them to be dealt with in prayer. We must begin by being completely honest about the pain we feel and take actions to move past it. It begins with recognizing it is not about how we feel. It is about facing the truth and accepting our responsibility found in the Word of God. Feelings are unstable and can move you away from unity. Don’t allow your feelings to get in the way of you making healthy choices in your relationships. It is never good to make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.
The enemy comes to divide and conquer, to bring separation. We must be vigilant at all times, recognizing the greater scheme in Satan’s plans. What we are facing is much greater than how we feel at that moment. The moment he can divide us, he gains ground. There is power in agreement. There is strength in unity. The truth is the enemy desires to bring division to the Body of Christ. That division can begin in our homes, on our jobs, or even in our churches. He will often misrepresent the actions of others to make it appear harsh and critical. It is then our responsibility to take a step back and examine every action through the Truth giving Spirit; the Holy Spirit is that Spirit. He searches the deep things. He knows the hearts and the motives involved. Take a moment and ask Him to reveal the truth about your situation. Always keep your mind set on what is true as it states here in Philippians 4:8 (GW) Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable. When we keep our minds set on the truth from God’s word we are cleansing our hearts. It begins to show up those dark hidden areas that go against the Word of God.
Make a choice today to no longer allow bitterness to consume your life nor steal from your relationships. Practice putting the Word of God to work in your lives. Overcome evil with good. Be kind. Be compassionate and forgive. Forgiveness is a must. We can’t keep holding on to what happened and receive the best from God. In order for us to receive forgiveness we must first forgive. I now leave you with this wisdom from Paul in the book of Ephesians 4:1-3 (MSG) In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences. In life and in love we will experience hurt but it is up to us to champion over it and continue walking in the love of God.
Grace and Peace,
© Mary Pinckney 2014
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