SOURCE: Living Free
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. (Hebrews 12:15 NLT)
Prolonged unforgiveness can breed bitterness.
When facing major disappointments in life, most people make one of two choices: They turn to God to heal their distress and with his help forgive the one who wronged them. Or they turn away from God and become bitter.
Sometimes people become bitter toward God for not repairing or healing a situation. More often they pour anger out on the person who caused the hurt and pain. Widowed singles may deal with anger at God for allowing their spouse to die, but this temporary anger does not have to turn to bitterness. Only anger that is fed, nurtured, and encouraged will turn into the soul-killing and body-killing emotion of bitterness.
Divorced singles often have to deal with bitter feelings toward God for allowing their marriage to fail. However, they more often reserve their intense bitterness for their ex-spouse.
Single Christians who have never married yet deeply desire a mate may feel bitterness about their single status or even at God for not answering their prayer.
God’s antidote for the poison of bitterness is forgiveness. Forgiveness is never easy, and the worse the hurt involved, the more difficult it is. However, God tells us to forgive, so we would do well to begin to move from bitterness toward forgiveness, even if we stumble in the beginning.
Refusing to forgive the one who has hurt us causes us more difficulty than it does the person with whom we are angry. Medical science has identified several physical and many emotional illnesses that seem to have roots in our unwillingness to forgive. Bitterness can adversely affect relationships with friends and family. And most of all, it hinders our relationship with God.
We have a choice. We can choose forgiveness over bitterness. Each of us is responsible for our own attitude toward the ones who have hurt us. If we choose forgiveness, God will help us forgive . . . and move on.
Father, forgive me for the unforgiveness I’ve carried for so long. Help me forgive the one who hurt me and release the bitterness. In Jesus’ name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …
The Single Christian: Living as One in a World of Twos by Dr. Elizabeth Holland.