Monday, June 18, 2012

Letting Go of Bitterness

Think about the oyster. It takes a grain of sand and turns it into a beautiful pearl. Too often we are just the opposite--we take pearls and turn them into grains of sand.

How does the Bible describe the origin of bitterness? Hebrews 12:15 states ”See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.”  (ESV) It is a root that can start from any offense even the smallest of offense that were left for the longest time. Furthermore, Song of Solomon 2:15 explained “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom."(ESV)  Thus, it is not the major things that causes men to be bitter but the most unexpected little events or issues in life, relationships, and etc.

What does bitterness do to any person? Here’s something I came across that seems extreme yet true: “A rattlesnake, if cornered, will sometimes become so angry it will bite itself. That is exactly what the harboring of hate and resentment against others is--a biting of oneself. We think that we are harming others in holding these spites and hates, but the deeper harm is to ourselves. What’s the antidote that can be done? Let go of all bitterness! Many would say, “It is easier said than done!” The only reason that it would be the hardest thing to do is the inability to release forgiveness to the person that made the offense. However, in my experience as a Church Pastor, I have discovered that most of the time, the person accused of causing the offense was not even aware that the actions he/she made became the source of offense.

Misunderstanding, miscommunication, misconception, and all other “misses” are common starting place for bitterness. I have personally learned and taught many that the best way to avoid all of these things however they may be substantiated is to give people the  “benefit of the doubt” at all times. In doing so, you will never become trapped of it and may miss the good intentions of the person involved. I always believed that everybody means well until proven otherwise. It is not bad to adopt such mindset or labeled as na├»ve of the “reality of men’s nature.” I just made an individual choice to see the best of people first before making any judgment or assumptions whenever possible.

No one must live with such bitterness baggage all their life. It must be dealt with correctly and quickly to avoid poisoning every facet of life and relationship. Often times, even the way they look at life is totally affected by it, thus, losing total peace and joy in the process replaced by grumpiness and negativity about everything. What a sad way to live life: always bitter. Therefore, aim to become “Better not Bitter!” We all know that life is too short to be lived in such a state.

Looking at the greatest example in the Bible taught us to let go of any root of bitterness at the worst of situation: hanging on the cross at Calvary. Jesus gave us an example to emulate when He said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” What a powerful expression of forgiveness towards the religious leaders that condemned Him and the Roman soldiers that carried out the sentence. It was simply applying what He taught to where it needed to be relevant. Jesus walked what He preached about.  Jesus’ words are applicable to any situation whether an offense was done or unkind words were spoken to us.

Just remember that our reaction will determine if we are going to be bitter or better than the person who acted or spoken unknowingly and/or unwittingly. Always remember Jesus’ words that can become a way out of any root of bitterness that can place you in bondage for a long time. Let go and do it immediately without any delay. If anyone said something that offended you, say this prayer aside from what Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are saying.”  Become a better person not a bitter one.

Lets talk again!