BiTteRnEsS & gRiEf

I don’t want to admit this, but I struggle with bitterness. A character defect. Bitterness lead me to leave my church family (all my friends and social support group for 3 years).  Bitterness grows when I don’t address a hurt, when the hurt goes unresolved, when I pretend it’s not there or hope that with time it would go away.  Those coping skills never work.

The Bible calls bitterness a poisonous root and the work of the devil to cause disunity:

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.  Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Heb 12:14-15 NLT

 Therefore, rejecting all falsehood [whether lying, defrauding, telling half-truths, spreading rumors, any such as these], speak truth each one with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one another [and we are all parts of the body of Christ].  Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.  And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness]. Ephesians 4: 25-27 AMP

To work through my hurts and bitterness, I need to face my grief.  Below are couple of devotionals that speak to these two areas.  Before you proceed you might want to watch this short video titled “What can we do to heal past hurts/frustrations?”

BITTERNESS

How would you feel if you spent years of your life running from an enemy only to discover the enemy was you?  Japan formally surrendered to the United States to end World War II on September 2, 1945. But several Japanese soldiers, still manning their posts throughout the Pacific, never got the news. One in particular, Hiroo Onoda, remained staunchly holed up in his jungle stronghold and refused to admit defeat. Efforts to communicate with him were dismissed by Onoda as a hoax. Amazingly, not until 1974, when his former commander was brought in to officially release Onoda from duty, did he realize he had dedicated his life to a war that had ended almost thirty years before.

Bitterness is a lot like that. We harbor anger from pain we’ve suffered and replay the resentment again and again in our mind. But, eventually, we discover our anger doesn’t solve anything from our past. It only damages the relationships we hold dear today.

Bitterness is a misplaced, toxic emotion. It eats away at us, not the person at whom we’re angry.

Our world is broken, and the pain we suffer is real. Trust me, I know. I’ve lived through some pretty dark days myself. But stewing in our anger and allowing bitterness to dominate our lives will only pull us away from God, and it’ll never erase the difficulties we’ve endured.

So do yourself a favor; be willing to work through your pain, and with the Lord’s help, forgive those who have hurt you. Set yourself free from a war that should have been over years ago.

FACING GRIEF

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. As David Works can tell you, this is never more true than when dealing with grief.

It started out as a normal Sunday in December 2007. The sun shone bright across New Life Church in Colorado Springs as the Works family climbed into their van after that morning’s service.

Then everything changed.

Out of nowhere, bullets crashed through the windshield and pinged off the vehicle’s metal frame. A mere ten yards away, the muzzle of a rifle flashed toward their van. By the time the gunman moved on in search of more victims, David Works and his wife, Marie, had lost two of their four daughters.

Few of us have experienced trauma quite like this, but none of us are immune to loss so deep it brings us to our knees. Psychologists will tell you we each grieve in our own way.

However, David says there is one universal truth he learned that day: there are no shortcuts. You can’t heal from grief by avoiding it or going around it. You have to walk straight through the middle.

And, boy, is that difficult. But with the support of family and friends and God’s loving presence, we can face our grief and make it through to healing. We may not charge ahead with confidence, and our steps may be shaky at first, but that’s okay. With time, the Lord can repair the broken places, and we’ll find ourselves stronger than we were before our world changed.

From: Daly Focus at JimDalyBlog.com These devotional appeared in YouVersion “Experiencing Hope and Healing” Reading Plan.

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