The Dungeon of Bitterness

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Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time.  ~Hebrews 12:15 (MSG)

How does God do this? I just told Phat that I’ve got to let go of some hurts. Some hurts seem too deep to imagine they will ever go away, but to continue to hold on to them is only causing more hurt. And then I pick up my Lucado devotional to read this:

Bitterness is its own prison.

The sides are slippery with resentment. A floor of muddy anger stills the feet. The stench of betrayal fills the air and stings the eyes. A cloud of self-pity blocks the view of the tiny exit above.

Step in and look at the prisoners. Victims are chained to the walls. Victims of betrayal. Victims of abuse.

The dungeon, deep and dark, is beckoning you to enter. . . . You can, you know. You’ve experienced enough hurt. . . . You can choose , like many, to chain yourself to your hurt. . . . Or you can choose, like some, to put away your hurts before they become hates. . . .

How does God deal with your bitter heart? He reminds you that what you have is more important than what you don’t have.  You still have your relationship with God. No one can take that.

I’m ready to get out of this dungeon. I need to forgive. But, not forget. I do need to remember who is safe and who is not. Yet, I can’t continue to allow myself to be held prisoner by these hurts. 

I need help to do this.  It seems to be quite a stronghold in my life. 

Is this what’s meant by not giving the devil an opportunity?

And “don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.  ~Ephesians 4:27 (NLT)

I don’t want this bitter influence in my life anymore.  I want to be “right” with God.  The scripture seems to say our relationship with God is directly influenced by our lack of forgiveness toward others:

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”  ~Matthew 6:14 (NASB)

He forgave me a debt I could never pay.  Am I going to continue to demand payment for an infraction others have done to me?  If I do, then what have I understood of His forgiveness?  He forgave me for sinning against Him, the Almighty God of the Universe. 

Perspective’s good.  It hurts to realize the truth.  It’s humbling, but it’s good.

I’m ready to leave this dungeon.  I’m tired of being chained to these hurts.  Please pray I won’t continue to let the resentment, anger and self-pity have control. 

The stench of betrayal is not as foul as the stench of unforgiveness.

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18 responses »

  1. I think I’d like to get out of my dungeon, too. But I don’t quite think I am finished grieving just yet.

    I wish I was. I really wish I was.

    At least I’m done running. Small step considering the agony. But, it is a step.

  2. I also want to get out of my dungeon, the thing is that how to cut loose and leave? It needs courage, forgiving and strong will.

  3. I suppose there are many types of dungeons, Nor. I’m not sure we can push the grieving process. It must work its course or it will only continue to haunt us in moments we least expect. (Well, that’s the little bit I understand…) I’m praying your grieving process will be lessened in His time. It’s good to hear you aren’t running anymore…SO good.

    I know, for me, the dungeon of bitterness is a choice I’ve made due to lack of forgiveness. I have no right to withhold forgiveness from another person, when God has forgiven me so much.

    I think Phat said it best: When God has forgiven me a billion dollar debt, how in the world do I hold out for the 25 bucks someone might owe me?

    Good morning, Noblese. How is life is Switzerland these days? Are you still there? Is that home for you? Or if these questions are too personal for the worldwideweb…just ignore me. I can handle it.

    Cutting loose and leaving does indeed take courage, forgiveness, and a strong will. I’m not too good with any of those characteristics. Without God’s help, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to find freedom. He does say we can walk in newness of life. I’m counting on the Truth of His words.

  4. Really needed this Michelle…thank you. Praying for you, and I do know that this is indeed possible…so freeing. Love you!

  5. Great Words Sis i believe you are getting – or already have – the logic behind the idea of forgiveness within ‘you’.

    I am also fairly sure you also understand the human ‘position’ relating to error and sin – not being able to follow God’s ways by reason solely of our own acts. It is just not ‘possible’ – no matter how hard the physical body and mind of the human being may ‘try’.

    It is my understanding that only through a New Way ( the New Man of the New Testament and of Jesus) can we have the Hope of learning true forgiveness and living in The Way Jesus said we are to follow.

    We cannot change our bodies – we are stuck with those – the laws of the Universe and physics see to that, Our cells die and renew but they do not do so all at once and the new cells become as ‘corrupted’ as the old ones they replace. WE have next to no power over this – or very little power – of ourselves.

    The mind is of slightly more ‘malleable’, changeable form and the things we once used to believe – Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, that Billy/Sally loved me etc we can change our minds over.

    Changing our individuality and personality is also ‘possible’ but again is made difficult by the fact that to do so effectively requires us to throw out everything we ‘were’ and replace it with a new self identity in one go or risk being the new ‘being’ being corrupted by the old. Our environment that built the old ‘us’ may also need to be changed or at least seen in a new light if we are to maintain the new us over the old one.

    But by and large i believe that both these types of Change are not the ones Christ made and referred to for those who would truly follow Him.

    I believe that we are to do so through ‘growing’, from the ‘seed’, that He alone can provide in us, a New ‘Body’ – one of spiritual form – and that we are to bit by bit move our mind into this new body as a form of awareness we have never before achieved.

    Exactly how we can do this probably varies from person to person and forms the Unique relationship each one of us can develop with God, through the Way Jesus ‘prepared’ and showed to us – specifically to the 12.

    Only through acquiring this New Body of Spirit and living IN it such that we subjugate all seflishness under it’s command can we ever have the Hope of being truly Free – paid for in Full through His Blood on Earth.

    Understanding this way is the first step we can take to helping it’s achievement within us. Next we need to learn to fully understand our own mind and how it is connected to our physical bodies and behaves, through impartial observation. (thus learning how to overcome our selfish emotions such as hate, greed, pride, etc etc.) Next we have to find some way of recognising the New Body through our personal, impartial awareness and then we can begin living more and more in it and less and less in ‘me’.

    The New Body – being His Creation, not our own – allows us to live ‘in’ an incorruptible form removed from but still in connection/relationship with our corruptible human body/mind.

    This is the only way i see it is possible for us to have any chance of overcoming the Human will so as to follow His perfectly and uncorrupted, while still living on earth through the Flesh/Physical world of error and imperfection.

    If he was able to just ‘wash us clean’ from our sin there would be no glory in that to Him – he could have done that to all mankind at any time – there would have been no need for The Flood, for example. What gives Him Glory is when we make the decision to leave the imperfection behind us for His Love and forgiveness of all sin through a new ‘Way’. One that requires us to cast off the Old.

    While we continue living only in an old body and mind we are subject to the way of all flesh. Our fighting this is most likely to prove of little value to our long term relationship with God making only minor and short term modification.

    Still, i suppose any ‘improvement’ is better than none at all? 😉

    Faith and works are what is required of each one of us. Those of the greatest Faith and who do the greatest works will likely achive what is required in the shortest length of time, but we are always to remember well that our Gift of Life is NOT a race… we are subject always to His Timing, never is it to be of our own desire’s timing.

    By seeking Truth for ourselves we may be able to overcome some less ‘profitable’ endeavours in favour of more prophetable ones 😉

    <B

    <B

  6. When my heart was grieved
    and my spirit embittered,
    I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you.
    Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand. (Psalm 73:21-23)

    I love this passage (and the rest of it), when we hold onto to bitterness we become senseless, we only see our own bitterness. But He is always there, He holds our right hand. We have no place in the dungeon. I know from experience how difficult it is to stay out of the dungeon. It is almost a daily choice, I daily reminding ourselves who we are and Whose we are.

  7. Thank you, Deb. I need your prayers. Love you! 😉

    Hey, Love! Reading through your comment made me think of the words concerning the old man vs. the new man. Specifically, Colossians 3:1-17.

    Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the One who created it. (verse 9-10)

    I am being renewed in knowledge, being transformed to His image. It’s a painful process, but so worth the surgery needed for healing. Thanks, Love!

    Hey, Rain! Are you better now? Hope so…

    I love the fact that even when we are brute beasts in our bitterness, He’s still with us, holding our hand. It is a daily choice for me! Sometimes hourly. Hopefully, in time, it won’t be such a struggle. The realization that we’re all in need of grace helps tremendously. No one’s got it all figured out. Thanks, Rain!

  8. I know it sounds crazy … but the warrior in me is SO encouraged by this post. Identifying is SUCH a huge step. Want some good old-fashioned ‘storm the gates of hell’ prayer? Just let me know. Any time. 🙂 I’m there. Love you!

  9. Storm the gates of hell prayer is exactly what I need, Annie!

    Bajan, I’m thrilled you’re willing to join in!

    Thank you, both!

    Love Y’all! 😉

  10. Hi Michelle
    Thanks for your posts and for your comments. Yes, I am still in Switzerland and it is my second home. I am originally from Egypt and have been here for almost 30 years. You are welcome to come and visit.
    Switzerland is fine; it has its economic problems like other countries as well. Spring has began here and there are flowers everywhere, thanks God.
    Have a great day.

  11. Thanks, Sparkle!!

    Hey, Noblese! I would LOVE to come visit! I was in Switzerland for a couple of days in 1986. You live in a beautiful country. Absolutely stunning! I can see the flowers blooming in the window boxes…

    I hope you noticed, I stole the perspective you gave on the 23rd Psalm. It blessed me, so I wanted to pass it along. Thanks for being real and sharing pieces of your life with me (and all other readers).

    I hope your day is good and filled with the blessings of our Shepherd!

  12. “I do declare, there were times when I was so lonesome, I took some comfort there.” The Boxer, Paul Simon.

    I say I want to leave this prison but I think I know this place too well.

  13. Ric – i love that song… but… you do know what the line before it is… Don’t you?? 😉

    It’s a very sad fact about our human nature that , often, we go with what we know.

    If we have known mostly bad things from childhood it can be very hard to try something ‘new’ and life-affirming – even when deep down inside we know that is what would be the best for us ( but we remain afraid it might not by reason of previous strong negative experiences).

    He asks us to cast off the old man – and live in Him – in the New man He helps us establish – to a New Life.

    That can be a lot easier for some than others – sometimes those who have never had the kind of experience you have never have a strong enough need to cast off the old from us and stay stuck in our old.

    Use your experiences to help you find the motivation to find the New Man within you.

    I know Christ has all the circumstances set in place for you and Hope exists and is worth following so as to lead you, eventually, out of your prison. 🙂

    <B

  14. Me too, Ric. It’s hard to leave when it’s sickly comfortable. Everything else is not familiar.

    I keep asking for help and turning to those I know who have begun to make the climb, hoping they’ll give support. Celebrate Recovery is a great place for just that.

  15. i’ve been focusing a lot lately on NOT being bitter. on letting go of my hurts and not letting them grow into hates. i refuse to let resentment set up camp in my heart. it’s a daily process of surrender and trust for me…

    i smile knowing God’s doing similar things in our hearts.

  16. “it’s a daily process of surrender and trust for me… ”

    Yeah, I get that. Sometimes moment-by-moment…

    It makes me smile too. I love you, Alece, very. much.

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