by Susan Wilson
Bitterness is uglier than we think. Much like that lovely fruit, the pineapple. It looks rather exotic on the outside. It even has a tough exterior and is rather pointed but we do love to dance with the dangerous. I recently ate my fill of that delicious fruit. Right up until I felt my mouth tingle and all of a sudden felt as if I had burnt my tongue on something really hot. Just like when we burn our tongue on a cup of hot liquid, I could not taste anything else. It even hurt my gums when I brushed my teeth for a few days. That fruit basically bites you back. It has an acid that eats away at you while you eat it.
So, why is this stuff even on the shelf without a warning sign? For people like me, who apparently don’t learn these things until later in life. Sometimes we all miss the “obvious”. Back to the other “forbidden fruit” we are warned against. Much like unforgiveness, bitterness is a trap for us, not those we are angry with. The ways it bites us back are numerous. Bitterness becomes the lens that we view all of life through. It colors and corrupts our view. It tethers us to that person’s sin against us. Until we let go of anger and hatred, the person is still hurting us. We let go for our sakes.
I stopped eating that pineapple when I connected the dots. The Bible instructs us to forgive others so that Satan cannot take advantage of us (2 Cor 2:10,11) because he intends to use this to destroy us. We are to forgive just as we have been forgiven. I get into trouble when I get too far away from the understanding of all I have been forgiven of. The sad truth is that we will live with the consequences of another’s sin whether we like it or not. Our decision is merely how we choose to do so. Will we do it in bondage or in the freedom of forgiveness. Bitterness is the fruit of full grown unforgiveness and it is bondage. Acts 8:23 says it is “the gall of bitterness and in a bond forged by iniquity (to fetter souls).”
That verse in Acts references Isaiah 58:6 which speaks of what a true fast and an acceptable day to the Lord is. “…the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every enslaving yoke.” Why does God hate sin? Because it causes death. What is unforgiveness? Sin that we can repent of. That is where Hope resides.
I have found over the years that whenever I don’t forgive I tend to rehearse what was done to me over and over in my head. I will never forget when the Lord spoke to me about this. He used the following passage of scripture.
In Genesis 30:25-43, we read of the account of Jacob when he was ready to finally part ways with his uncle Laban. Now Laban had not treated Jacob very well and had deceived him while also benefiting greatly from the way the Lord had blessed Jacob. When it was time for them to part ways, Jacob had a plan. He would take only the speckled and black sheep and goats. Jacob took rods made of poplar and almond and plane trees and peeled white stripes in them exposing the white which was in the rods.
When the strongest of the animals would come to the watering troughs where they came to drink and mate, he put the rods in front of them. Thus their offspring turned out to be speckled. So instead of them being the weakest of the herds, they were actually the best of them.
The Lord told me, what you look at you will reproduce. What you focus on and dwell on is what you will become.
I cannot spend too much time rehearsing what another has done to me before I have to go back to that place that I am responsible for. I am responsible for my choices, my thoughts, my actions, my beliefs, and my responses; all of those will I be giving an account for. All of those things I am given both responsibility for and power over. That is where that feeling of powerlessness ends. That is where I am no longer a victim. I can choose not to be around certain people again. I can choose to set healthy boundaries moving forward. But as for justice, the only justice is found at the Cross. The cross is what makes forgiveness right and legal because Jesus took the eternal payment for all sin upon Himself (2 Cor 5:21).
I have been sinned against, but the difference is, He knew no sin and bore it all for me and for you. Hard Truth – We have to come to terms with the pain that sin causes. But we can choose not to become tethered to it and defined by it. Because before we know it, our identity gets wrapped up in it. I refuse to be defined by what has been done to me by others. I am defined by the One who laid His life down for me, the Creator of the universe. When we release and forgive it doesn’t mean that what happened was ok or that God has let go of them. He is just and fair and knows how to handle it much better than we do. I don’t have to feel like it to forgive. Once we do forgive Satan loses his power over us and the Lord steps in to heal that area of our soul. He has restored my soul on many occasions and continues to do so. The question remains do we trust Him?
If you’d like to read the other posts in this series, you can find them here:
The “B” word…Not What You Think: https://wordwranglernc.wordpress.com/2021/05/03/the-b-word-not-what-you-think/
Bitter Truth: https://wordwranglernc.wordpress.com/…/05/07/bitter-truth/
From Bitter to Betterhttps://wordwranglernc.wordpress.com/…/from-bitter-to…/