Whether we realize it or not, bitterness lives in more people than we’d like to admit, including you and I. The odds are, 9 times out of 10, there are still people walking around angry or upset about things that happened last week, last month, or last year. I used to believe it was okay and a normality to expect apologies and restoration from the ones who had wronged me. But without realizing it, I was subconsciously allowing myself to become less likely to grow intellectually, mentally, and spiritually.
You see, the flow of your heart is probably the most important function in your body, and that concept transcends your body and can be applied to your mind and emotions as well. It needs to flow in the right direction, at the right pace, and at the perfect range of motion to service your entire body. As it is with our bodies, so it is with our lives. And one of the greatest obstacles to overcome is bitterness. We can’t avoid getting hurt. We are humans, and are made to feel a wide variety of emotions. What we can avoid however, is the impact that hurt has on us. And allowing that hurt to turn into bitterness is where a lot of us go wrong. I think we know that, but don’t know how destructive bitterness really is. Let me explain…
When hurt turns to bitterness, it’s because you feel you’ve been wronged, misused, and mistreated. This feeling usually evokes a natural need for an apology or any kind of admittance of wrongdoing. As a result, we begin expecting apologies and amnesty (which in most cases is rightfully deserved). And whether we know it or not, once the heart is expectant of something, it lingers in your mind, you ponder on it day and night, and even might seek answers that will provide clarity or some sense of understanding.
The problem with that, is that you can’t move on if you’re constantly seeking answers and apologies regarding your past. Also, you can’t actively press someone for an apology, because what usually results is an argument, a war of words, a back-and-forth trade of negative history, so on and so forth.
In other words, letting bitterness drive your thoughts, emotions, and actions can quickly backfire and escalate an already tense situation. Mistreating the experience by growing bitter has more implications on our future than we would like to believe. Fortunately for us, there’s another path you could take.
The other path is to treat the experience how it should be treated: as fuel for understanding and learning. A renewed and restored mind takes work, prayer, and time, among other things like patience and the willpower to keep people from your past behind you and out of your present. But if you see how much danger you put yourself in focusing on getting answers, can you imagine how much better off you’d be if you spent that same amount of energy learning and applying your new knowledge to other relationships around you? God honors those who take pride in wisdom, learning, and understanding, and He will not ignore a cry for help from someone who has a heart truly set on learning from their mistakes and moving on.
God doesn’t want you bitter, mad, and angry for years about the same thing. He doesn’t want you bitter or angry at all. But you have to decide to either renew your mind, or repeat your mistakes. You can either wake up every day, repeating the same angry, bitter mindset as the day before, or you can choose to want better, pray for better, and chase better. Don’t mistreat the experience.