I look at the picture of this woman above and my heart gets heavy. Yes, I know –she’s some model that posed for this pic, but she really nailed the look of disappointment, distress or maybe duress? I also know that look. I’ve experienced a let down and sheer heartache that took the breathe out of me, so deeply that my heart and soul felt forever crippled.
There’s a song out now by Jessica Reedy called “Better,” look into it. The lyrics are gripping and telling about life under the relentless hold of BITTERNESS. Her lyrics say, “Life –it can leave you, so BITTER, BITTER, BITTER, but you must believe it will get better, better, better.” Easier said than done, right? She then goes on to say, “she wanted to die from how she was done wrong.”
Very dramatic, I know, but real and I think most people can identify with being done wrong, whether in a relationship, by a slick car salesman or maybe a haircut gone all the way crazy?
Let downs are apart of life and deliberate violations happen without our permission. The outcome of serious suffering and pain often leads to bitterness, yet doesn’t have to. Unfortunately, many people have become cozy with bitterness, either because they don’t know it, don’t want to admit it or think bitterness is a perfect and acceptable response to all the pain they’ve endured.
So, what is bitterness?
It’s a pain that has caused intense hostility, a deep sense of grief or a bad taste. You may have heard nonchalant comments like “she’s bitter” or “you’re bitter, you need to get over it!” Well, bitterness isn’t a nonchalant matter. It’s a harmful emotion that has the power to corrupt one’s perception of life, people and possibly –God. Truth is bitterness blocks blessings. How can someone that is bitter about being hurt by a man, accept the husband that’s on his way? How can a mother that is bitter about a child’s defiance, love that child unconditionally?
The written Word encourages us to…“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)
But, how? How do I “get rid” of bitterness. I know, if it were up to you and I, I’m sure we’d like to live bitter free. I can recall when I was drop kicked in the heart. –You ever stub your toe and try to pretend it didn’t hurt as bad as it did? It really is one of the worst feelings. Well, this is how heartache hit me. It hurt like a stubbed toe, well WORSE, but I went on with my life pretending the pain wasn’t that deep. I know I’m not alone. Many of us have been taught to go along with crazy trauma, while inside, intense hostility is building up. You may know the attitude. “I’m a–ight! I’m good!” Well, you’re not. What happened to you was awful and it’s okay to scream out loud –I’m hurt!!!
So, now that I exhaled for you, how can we give bitterness the boot?
1. Acknowledge the painful truth. In the movie, Diary of a Mad Black Woman there’s a scene where the main character is called “Bitter!” She said, “I’m not bitter, I’m mad as hell.” I love this because it’s the truth. Her truth. If you deny the truth of the pain you actually feel, you give the seed of bitterness an opening in your soul to grow. Pretending to be better off than you are is associated with ego and shame. Don’t allow shame to overcome you and the ego to keep you in a state of denial. Admit it! You’re mad as hell.
2. Agree to go through the grief with God, not with the world. Yes, it’s okay to tell a parent or someone you trust that you were hurt, but the person you go to is limited in helping you resolve the matter. I was notorious for telling everyone how hurt I was because I was overcome by the pain and super offended, to the point where it became a permanent caption over my head that read: “SHE WAS HURT BY HIM.” Trust me, if random people know your ‘scar’ story then you’ve gone too far. Stop it! Go to the only one that can minister you back to good health. The same way you’d tell your drama to a friend, tell it to God. God’s able and ready to move you to the most loving place and give you peace where your happiness was disturbed.
3. Ask God to help you forgive, the offender and yourself. Now that you’re in a place of honesty with the pain and with God, it’s time to make peace with your offender and yourself, and the way to peace will come through forgiveness. Nope! This one isn’t easy AT ALL, but if you’ve been honest with God about your pain and if you desire to eliminate any bitterness bushels from cropping up, then you’re ready to take this step. I was unforgiving for over 10 years and I suffered dearly, my love for life and even my fashion sense was all thrown off. Sadly, I had embraced the rejection and hurt more than the life I had, waiting to be lived. So, I strongly encourage you to do what you must to heal and not harbor. Go for a walk or to the gym, wherever your place of peace is and announce to God that you would like to forgive him or her for this or that. Then, be courageous and ask God to help you forgive yourself. You can do it! I had to write a letter, go to the park and continually ask God to help me forgive then the release happened. It’s such a beautiful difference to live without that bad taste.
I know this blog post was a little lengthy, but bitterness is such a blessing blocker that parades around as a normal emotion. It’s not normal or acceptable. God wants us to throw it off and live. Can you do that?
I know you can.
P.S. Don’t forget to share or comment, I’d love to hear from you. 😉