Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Quiet Soul Killer; Dealing with Bitterness

Have you been hurt?  If you haven't been hurt, then you are probably in a vegetative state and can't be reading my blog.  Either that, or you are a hermit that been raised by wolves.  Whatever the case, if you are in any sort of relationship with people, you've been emotionally hurt.  Even those of us with limited emotional facilities have, can and will be hurt.  It's just a part of life and part of being in relationship.  Most of the time we get over it.  Things are sorted out, we apologize or others apologize to us.  Things usually get fixed and relationships are mended and restored.  Not always.

Sometimes things happen that cause bigger hurts.  These fester and amount to what we could call an emotional infection.  Bitterness takes root and it's very difficult to get rid of.  We dwell, we stew and the infection begins to kill our soul.  It's not something that people see, and if we silently dwell then no one will know the anguish that we hide.  The bitterness eats us from the inside out and causes more damage than we can imagine.  Relationships with others begin to suffer, trust erodes and the door is open to anger, hate, rage and all sorts of negative emotions.

There is no pill that will get rid of the disease of bitterness, but there is treatment.  The first is confession and admitting you have bitterness in your soul.  I know I have this sickness in my soul and I have spent years hiding it.  It will take time for it to be cleared out, but it will never go away if we don't acknowledge it's there.  It's easier sometimes to just deny the hurt and try to forget, but we have to deal with it.  There is no way to treat the illness until we admit we are sick.  It's at that point we begin to take the most powerful medicine, prayer.  We pray for God to heal the bitterness and to heal the hurt and damaged emotions.  We should also ask others to pray with us and for us.

Some will say that you need to resolve the issue, but I am going to politely disagree.  Some issues are not resolvable.  If you have a problem with someone who has passed away, there is no resolution.  You may have issues with someone who you can't speak with.  They may make the issue worse or continue to hurt you.  You may have tried to resolve the issue and it blew up in your face.  The reality there are plenty of sociopathic people around.  You can't reason with them, you shouldn't argue with them, and confrontation will only make the issue worse.  Bitterness is your issue, not theirs.  You have to find a way to let it go.  It's a big step, a huge task and a major undertaking.  There are people that I would rather back my truck over that forgive, but God is calling me to forgive them.  Most of the time in these situations, the person feels justified in hurting you.  They blame you, you blame them, and it's an issue.  Chances are, you have conflicting personalities and different views on life.  I'm an abstract and there are some who are so concrete that I want to just take a jackhammer too them.  I can't do it, and neither should you.

In the end, we have to live with ourselves.  Even if the person who hurts us is a family member, we still have to find a way to sleep at night.  Scripture tells us that as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Find a way to have peace with them, sometimes that means just smiling and being polite.  Pray for the person, make a commitment to love that person.  It's not easy or fun, but it might just save your soul.  Find someone who encourages you and share your struggles (don't bash the person, but share how you are hurt and ask for prayer).  Remember, emotions are like stray dogs, if you feed them, they follow you home.  If you stop feeding them, eventually they go away.

Admit the bitterness, prayer and peace.  It's hard to make peace with someone who hurt you, it's harder to make peace with yourself.  Let's be real for a second, the reason it hurt is because whatever it was hit a little close to home.  If someone says something, does something and hurts you, it hurts because of the way it makes you feel about yourself.  You feel bad, wrong, dumb, dirty, unwanted and unloved.  You are angry at the person, but part of the anger and bitterness is directed at yourself.  We have to find a way to make peace with ourselves, to believe God is who He says He is, and we are who He says we are.  We have to love ourselves to love others.  God loves us and cares for us, and we have to find a way to accept that.  Find a way to lay down and go to sleep at night without the pain in your soul.  There is no easy way to do this, no short cut, no magical formula.  Talk to people, get spiritual guidance from a pastor, elder or mature Believer.  Be in small group, pray, read your Bible and trust God.  It's a long, slow and steady process, but you'll get there.  It's a long road, a hard journey and it will take time and energy.  It will all be worth it in the end.  You are not on this road alone.

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