January 8, 2018
Antidote for Bitterness
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
— Ephesians 4:31
Susan and Mary had been working together for almost five years. One day Susan mentioned she was interested in the team lead position that had just opened up, and Mary encouraged her to apply for the job. Mary even said she would put in a good word with the hiring manager. Imagine Susan’s shock when she went to speak with their supervisor only to find that Mary had already been awarded the promotion and would now be her boss.
Betrayal is a bitter pill. Once swallowed it dissolves into a poison that can destroy us.
It’s tempting to believe that holding a grudge, hating someone or refusing to forgive a wrong is a worthy punishment for those who mistreat us. In truth holding a grudge only punishes the person holding it. Medical research shows that bitterness negatively affects our emotional and physical body function. In other words, bitterness can kill us.
So how do we escape the toxic effects of extreme hurt? We forgive.
Jesus demonstrated the ultimate act of forgiveness on the cross. He looked out at the crowd who had betrayed Him and turned Him over to be crucified, and He said, “Father, forgive them.” He called first on God, asking for His power to forgive, and we should do the same. When forgiveness feels too hard, we can remember that it’s never too hard for God. He’ll give us the strength to release our anger.
Forgiving someone who’s hurt us on a deep level can feel like we’re letting them off the hook. But forgiveness truly sets us free. Forgiving someone before we allow hate to fester is the only antidote to bitterness.
Today’s One Thing
Has someone hurt you deeply? Do you cringe when you hear their name? Take the first step toward eliminating the poison from your soul. Ask God to help you forgive them and taste joy.