Bitterness to Betterness

Finding our way from hopeless to hopeful
by, Tammy Whitehurst

I don’t like conflict. (You probably don’t either.) The thing is, God can’t fix what we won’t face. {Tweet This} If we don’t face the conflict brewing within us, we stand the chance of getting infected with “bitter bondage” over time. Bitterness creeps in and hardens the heart. It is accompanied by a web of loneliness. Don’t be fooled into thinking bitterness is strength. It is not. It doesn’t make us stronger it makes us weaker. I have learned it the hard way. I had to make the tough decision to forgive so that I could move forward and stop focusing over and over on the dark corner of my life where bitterness had been born. I found nothing worked to get rid of the dark place except forgiveness. Forgiveness is not an emotion. Forgiveness is a strong willed decision. It pushes us forward to brighter days filled with hope, light, and true joy!

Bitterness steals your joy and leaves you lonely. {Tweet This}

Bitterness can be a real problem. It not only steals your joy, but it can also make you sick. As one doctor said of one of his patients, “He could be a well man if he got hate out of his heart.” Bitterness bondage is an addiction of the soul. It is a deadly root that devours and destroys not only our health, but our happiness, and our personal relationships. If we don’t diffuse the bomb of bitterness we will find ourselves suffering from loneliness.

We often try to balance out the guilt with blame. We say, ” I have my reasons to be bitter. You don’t know what they did to me!” I have used those comebacks, but I am reminded there is no peace in those words.

I used bitterness for revenge. This has a way of killing us like a slow death. When we carry deep bitterness around, we can’t enjoy a single moment in life. We run loved ones away. Our treasures begin to crumble.

We can’t relive yesterday but we can live today! {Tweet This}

When the root of bitterness springs up, and it will, what does it do? Cause great things to happen? No. Cause joy in our soul? Absolutely not. Bring us love? Never. Give us peace? No. Hebrews 12:15 tells us “See to it…that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble…” Bitterness, left to fester, causes trouble. There is no joy, no hope, no inner encouragement flowing through our lives, because there is resentment there. We must let go. Letting go is difficult. But our misery can turn into our ministry and our pain can bring about purpose when we are willing to exchange bitterness for brighterness.

Don’t you think that person or situation has stolen your joy and robbed you of life long enough? It is time to live again! We can seek Christ more than we seek revenge. We can give up trying to get even with those who have done us wrong and get even with those who have done us right. It’s time to stop playing tug-o-war. It is time to drop the rope and walk away and leave it where it falls. Don’t go back and pick it up. When the game is over, let it be over. We will begin to regain our joy by beating out bitterness. We walked away…..and we won. We might have been knocked down but with Christ we can’t be knocked out! We are never too old for a new beginning. Let’s start today.

Forgiveness is the key

Whoa! I know that is a word that conjures up all kinds of pain, memories, and even anger. But don’t give up now! (Let me repeat that again.) Don’t give up now! So often we breakdown right before we are about to have a breakthrough. Stop and take a break to breathe your way through it. Keep pushing, keep hoping, keep believing! Faith can move mountains even when a situation looks hopeless. God has pulled you through storm after storm and he will continue as long as you keep your focus on him. There always comes a time when we are asked to get out of the boat and walk on water. To step out on faith. To trust. To believe. The key to forgiveness, just like the key for Peter to be able to walk on water, was to not take our eyes off Jesus. Forgiveness does come with an instruction manual. It has to do with releasing ourselves from the chains of bitterness and the shackles of hate and embracing life with both hands and riding it out. God continues to awaken us every morning and he assures us that joy comes in the morning.

If we want to live embracing life and riding it out to the very end with hope, we must forgive. Is what they did worth the rest of our life? When the end draws near, we all wish we would have put things behind us and walked out of the darkest corner of our life into the light. So often we go back to that dark corner over and over, day and day and we try to put the pieces back together. We overanalyze. We think of all the “woulda, shoulda, coulda’s” and the “what if’s” and we are imprisoned by that moment when life stopped for us. Forgiveness is for you not for the other person, but for you. We can’t relive the past but we can live in the present and we can have a future that is filled with hope. Walk away from the dark corner once and for all and walk out into the light with your arms wide open and breathe in fresh air free from the bondage of bitterness.

A New Beginning

Some people say what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger. If that is true, many of us should be able to bench press a Buick by now. The good news is, anyone can overcome a bitter spirit. Look at how bitterness has already affected you, your heart, your attitude, your point of view, and your treatment of others or yourself. If you see you are suffering from bitterness, then for your own good, I encourage you to seek forgiveness today and ask God to help you.

We can all breathe in fresh air. God encourages us to deal with it. He says in Ephesians 4:31, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger…” Remember, that forgiveness is for our benefit. The other person’s attitude may never change. It is not up to us to change that person. It is our responsibility to know that brighter days are ahead and better times are coming.

There are times when I am tempted to grab resentment and hold on to bitterness again, but I am reminded of what I will have to give up. I stand contemplating with coldness clutching my heart the cost. My smile will fade, my friends and family will slowly distance themselves from me, and my hope will be buried. It is just not worth it for me. I want to enjoy life. I want to soar on wings as eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. One thing is for sure….Life doesn’t get easier, but we get better at it! We are never too old for a new beginning! Let it go and LIVE!

Tammy Whitehurst, Joy for the JourneyTammy Whitehurst is a speaker, writer, and a woman who likes to kick life up a notch! She loves that God tells us in Proverbs 17:22 that a merry heart doeth good like medicine and believes we all need a whopping dose. Her speaking is filled with humor and she shares from the heart about things that matter to the heart of every woman. She is the founder of Joy for the Journey Ministries and has written for several Christian magazines. She is a voice of encouragement to all who hear her speak. Learn more about her at tammywhitehurst.com

Eddie Jones

Eddie is a North Carolina-based writer and Acquisition Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He is a three-time winner of the Delaware Writers Conference and his Middle Grade / Tween novel, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, won the 2011 Selah Award in Young Adult fiction. He co-writes the He Said, She Said devotions, available at ChristianDevotions.us. His latest novel, Bahama Breeze, is a humeros romantic suspense available from Harbourlight Books.

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