writing for children

Bitter Fruit

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?

Susan

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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…/

writing for children

Still learning: Hogwash

Do you remember the 70’s movie, “Love Story”?

At one point in the tumultuous story, Ali McGraw (the leading lady) says, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” And then later, AFTER SHE DIES, Ryan O’Neal (the grieving leading man) repeats the statement. And with that, the movie ends.

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

This, my dear friends, is the definition of HOGWASH. The lot of it. COMPLETE HOGWASH.

Why am I bringing this up now?

Because I recently heard someone say, “If you feel like you have to apologize to someone, then you aren’t really close.”  

Interestingly enough, Ryan O’Neal made another movie in 1972 called “What’s Up Doc” witih Barbara Streisand. When Barbara says, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry“, O’Neal replies, “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”

Don’t get me wrong, I think you can interpret the “never having to say you’re sorry” bit as something worthwhile. Maybe it means you treat another person with as much respect and love as possible and therefore never have anything that needs to be apologized for.

Yeah. Like anyone can live up to that hype!

We all do things that end up hurting others. Our words and actions leave gaping holes in our relationships. Admitting our faults and making amends (yes, that means apologizing!) helps in the healing process and draws us closer.

But what if we never try to bridge those gaps – what happens?

We end up with relationships separated by canyons.

There will be times when words aren’t necessary. But more often than not, admitting we’ve hurt someone and trying to make things better is a good thing.

For me, though, claiming the “if you love me, I shouldn’t have to apologize” rule is a selfish rule at best. And at the worst, it is self destructive.

So what do you think of that old movie line? Truth? Or Hogwash?

 

*for further reading and opinions, check out these posts by other bloggers:

http://dawnkinzer.blogspot.com/2010/02/love-means-never-having-to-say-youre.html

http://mainstreetmom.com/marr/say_sorry.htm (EXCELLENT ARTICLE!)