I've been thinking a lot about bitterness lately.
Why? Because I've become more aware of it than I ever have before.
We all know bitterness is bad. Duh.
I tweeted this last night:
"Bitterness is ugly. Just deal with it so we don't have to."
It's so true. It's so ugly. And, other people ultimately have to deal with being around a bitter person.
You have to tiptoe around bitter people. You never know what kind of response you're going to get in any given situation or conversation. You may not even be a part of the reason they're bitter, but they will take it out on you regardless. Bitter people ... not fun at all. Honestly, I try to avoid them.
Bitterness always stems from some type of hurt or insecurity. Always.
Then, when bitterness rears its ugly head, it allows that person to keep everyone at arms length. Funny how you can see the hurt in a bitter person. Everyone sees it, except for that person.
If a person doesn't deal with their bitterness and has no desire to rid themselves of it, that bitterness will just grow and spread.
Years of bitterness can ruin a person's life by alienating them from the people that love them and creating in themselves a hard heart, deeply defended by thick walls of protection.
The saddest part is what a person misses out on by holding onto bitterness. They miss out on relationships. Granted, relationships aren't perfect. I have many imperfect relationships in my life, but wouldn't trade them for a life of loneliness, a life without the people I've formed relationships with. People are human. Relationships with people are going to be messy. It's a given. But, the alternative is much worse.
Hebrews 12:15 says that bitterness can actually "defile" you.
That's serious business.
God never desired for us to live our lives holding onto hurt. Remember? Jesus came that we might have life more abundantly. I'm pretty sure that's why He said,
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." (Eph. 4:31-32)
God knows bitterness, along with those others mentioned above will hurt us. That's why He commands that we get rid of them.
COMMANDS. Not requests.
I've held onto bitterness in my life so I can tell you from first-hand experience, it's not fun. It hurts. It definitely defiles because it distorts your thinking on everything. You begin to believe lies.
We have to be the ones to decide to let go of bitterness, to forgive, to choose joy, to choose love. God cannot do it for us. We must choose.
There is so much freedom in letting go! Believe me. I've been there, done that.
I thank God that He delivered me from that type of heart. Every now and again, after years and years of being free from bitterness, that ugly thing wants to try and come back into my life. Pitiful. I would never want that again.