Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bitterness

Ephesians 4:31-32
English Standard Version (ESV)
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

(In case you can't tell, I used this photo to represent BITTER cold.)

 If I said the word "bitterness" to you, what comes to mind?  A food? Maybe a person? Have you ever talked with someone and found yourself thinking they were very bitter? I've experienced that from time to time. Sometimes I meet someone and within minutes, their bitterness oozes out and sometimes a bit of it gets on me. It makes me want to go wash it off. It makes me want to get far away from that person.

When I went online to find a definition of that word I first found, as you would expect, a reference to taste. The second definition, though, referred to feelings. Words associated with bitterness were:

anger
disappointment
resentment

Those are not very positive words, are they? However, we all have those feelings from time to time I suppose. Does that mean we are bitter people? 

I'm not sure why but that word has come to my mind on several occasions lately. Something I've noticed is that most of us have trouble avoiding bitterness.  Do you think it is associated with a mentality of victimization? Do you know what I mean? We all have things in our past that we could latch onto to feel we were victimized in some way. We've all experienced times of being treated unfairly. I think it is our response to those experiences that determine whether or not we are going to become bitter.

I don't even know why I am writing about this. I don't have much of a psych background. Sure, we had to do some of that in nursing school but truthfully, I wasn't that good at the psych stuff. Also, I don't remember ever learning about bitterness and its effect on people during those class discussions. So, I hope you aren't looking for any insightful answers here. There you go. That is my little disclaimer.

The only thing I'm thinking is that there is a strong link between bitterness and the lack of forgiveness. Think about it and tell me if you agree. When I tried to examine things from my past that left me feeling angry or resentful, I noticed that there were a few feelings of bitterness that still popped up. There were maybe some people I needed to forgive. Ouch! I wanted to think about bitterness in others, not myself! 

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have a few things to work on. I'm still nurturing several areas of bitterness. Did I say "nurturing"? Yep. I realized that I kind of wanted to keep those things on a nearby shelf, so to speak, so that I could pull them out and dwell on them when I wanted to have a pity party or just enjoy a good "mad". I may even want to pull them off the shelf to use as an excuse for my own behavior sometime. Oh come on! You do things like that, don't you? I'm not the only one, am I?

Here's what I know, though. Bitterness leaves a terrible taste in your mouth. Bitterness spreads to others. Bitterness can be neutralized when sprinkled with sugar. Maybe forgiveness is the sugar. Oh, hey, that sounds kind of insightful, doesn't it? I'm so proud of it, I will say it again...

Forgiveness is the sugar.


       


Faithful Friday

4 comments:

  1. I think sometimes, even when we want to forgive and wash the slate clean, a little bitterness lingers, or perhaps anger, because our brains don't forget even when we wish they would. We feel the need to protect ourselves against the kind of hurt occurring again that the bitterness is a remnant of. I don't know the cure. It helps to remind one's self to forgive--again--just like the seventy times seven Jesus recommended! Maybe that last bitter taste will only be gone when we arrive in heaven.

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    1. Yes, this is a case where a short memory would be helpful.

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  2. Great post! I invite you to link up at http://reneweddaily.com/ for Recommendation Saturday today! Blessings, Shelly <3

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  3. Gosh I dont think I would or could give any advise on that subject: When I get bitter, I forget to stop and think. Instead I might just fly off the handle (in my mind); I can eather walk away, better not to say anything...Because if you are bitter you cant think strait...The Deamon of the tongue can destroy your forgiving abilities..Thank you Sue good lesson..

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