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.