It is impossible to walk through life without getting your toes stepped on or stepping on someone else’s. A careless word or remark can sting. We have all suffered from the effects at one time or another. The real problem is not that we’ve been hurt, but how we handle it. The offended person has only two choices, release the offender of the offence, which is called: Forgiveness. Or refuse to let the offender off the hook, which is called: Vengeance.
If someone holds onto the offense, then the seed of bitterness has been planted. In that nanosecond, they have judged a person unworthy of love or forgiveness. The seed of bitterness grows at a rapid pace, bringing death to a relationship.
The Apostle Paul warned us, “Don’t sin by allowing anger to 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 4:26-27 NLT).
God is all about relationships and he enjoys it when his children are growing in his unconditional love. This is so close to the heart of God that holding on to vengeance grieves the Holy Spirit. The Lord will not accept your prayers or offerings if there is bitterness and anger between you and another.
Jesus taught, “If you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” (Matthew 5:23-24 NLT).
“Do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander as well as all types of malice behavior. Instead, be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you”
(Ephesians 4:30-32 NLT).
If we are the offender, the moment we become aware that we have offended someone; we need to apologize and ask forgiveness, which diffuses bitterness. If an apology is offered with a sincere motive and is accepted, then it’s a “no harm no foul” situation, which pleases the Lord.
How do you know if bitterness has taken root in your life? Is there a person at school, work, home or church that you avoid? Is there pain and anger associated when you see them or the mention of their name? If you answered YES, then bitterness has grown in your heart. You must forgive the offender, ask God to help you.
Forgiveness is the hallmark of the child of God. The benefits of forgiveness are: Peace with God and others, Your joy will overflow and love for all people is increased. If bitterness is allowed to grow, it can cost so much more than temporary revenge, it will cost you your spiritual health. Jesus said, “Forgive and you will be forgiven”
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