Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
Bitterness and resentment are poisons that destroy our lives. We have all been hurt or caused hurt to someone else. Yes, it hurts very badly, so we want to retaliate and hurt them for hurting us. What we usually end up doing is hurting someone else because of the discretion of another who had nothing to do with hurting us. As we all know, “hurt people hurt other people.”
Sadly, we usually become the thing we hate in someone else if we don’t forgive and let go of bitterness and resentment. We have been cheated on so we cheat on someone else; we have been abused, so we abuse others. When we are in bitterness, we move over into hate, which is akin to a heart to murder someone out of anger.
I once knew a woman who was sexually abused by her father, and was also later raped. As one can imagine, sexual abuse and rape is very painful and can cause various other issues. Out of her bitterness, resentment, and inability to forgive she became sexually promiscuous in an effort to punish men for the pain of her sexual abuse and rape. The last time we spoke several years ago, she stated she had been with over 65, men and half of those were within a six -month span of deep resentment and anger. She also had the mindset of “Men do it, why can’t women?” You see, her pain is associated with men; because of her bitterness, she hates or is distrustful of all men.
Please don’t live your life scarred, or playing victim. What is most important is that we judge ourselves and make the necessary corrections about ourselves. I am a firm believer that our pain is 90% self-inflicted. We have to always check our motives for wanting people in our life and ask ourselves if these motives are healthy. For example, did you want to explore a relationship because you just wanted companionship or sex? Was it lust based on sex or physical attraction? Money? His or her career, or social standing? Many times, we attract the wrong people because we are the wrong person for ourselves. You see, bad motives or selfish desires will produce negative results every time.
Even when our motives are pure we have to first make sure we are emotionally healthy enough to have a relationship. We have to first, heal from past pain and unresolved issues. Only then can we learn to be happy alone and love self before we can love anyone else.
God has given you the authority to set yourself free and release yourself from bitterness and pain. Please don’t allow injustices of other people to cause you to miss out on God’s best for your life. I was in a relationship once where I struggled to forgive the woman because I felt so, betrayed and used by her. Ultimately, it destroyed the relationship. I know first- hand how hard it is to forgive someone. I’ve cried many nights until my pillow was washed in tears. I deeply understand disappointment, pain and struggling to forgive myself and the people who hurt me. Walking around angry and bitter about who has hurt you causes you to live that pain daily. As long as you are bitter you will repeal happiness and peace in your life.
Here are ten tips to overcome bitterness and resentment:
1. Ask God to forgive you for being bitter and resentful. Then ask him to forgive who has hurt you. “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive your sins. Matt. 6:14
2. Don’t allow the bad that happened to keep you from God’s best.
3. Don’t enter a relationship or date because you will only hurt someone else.
4. Pray daily for God to heal you and research scriptures to study and apply to your life daily.
5. God will bring the justice. Your instruction is to forgive.
6. When you forgive you remove the offender’s power to hurt you. Accept what has happened and understand you have to heal. Seek professional help if necessary
7. Understand that when we continue to walk around hurt and bitter, the people who have hurt us are hurting us every day and in most cases, have moved on and are enjoying life.
8. Allow God to help you forgive and forget. Some of us don’t trust God; thus, we continue living in pain. Don’t forget to continue to ask God to forgive who has hurt you. Ask God to bless their life and heal them as well.
9. Understand that forgetting means you are letting go of what they did to you. It does not mean you have amnesia.
10. Don’t feel or act like you have to seek revenge. The Bible teaches us God will bring us our justice. He knows what was done to you and what you have done to others. “God will repay the exact compensation owed to us. He will settle and solve the cases of his people.” Hebrews 10:30
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