may have done things in the past to make you feel angry, victimized,
unappreciated, and used. Indeed, you may have a valid reason to feel
You may have been taken advantage of and victimized by
others. You may have been unappreciated by others. You may have been
used by others. These are common experiences of just about all people.
However, when these kinds of occurrences happen in life we have a
choice to make. We can choose to be drawn into the darkness put upon us by others or we can choose to stay out in the light and love of Christ.
If you are truly a child of God, others may try to do things to make you angry but you do not have to respond or feel angry.
In Christ, others may try to victimize you but you do not have to be a
victim. In Christ, others may not appreciate you but you do not need the
appreciation of others.
In Christ, others may use you to their
advantage but you do not need to feel used because you have given over
all of who you are to Him who died for you.
The power we live
under in Christ is an insulating power for our hearts. This insulating
power keeps us from feeling angry, victimized, unappreciated, and used
“Above all guard your hearts, for out it flows the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23
“Bitterness is like a rock thrown into a placid pond; After its initial splash it sends out circular ripples that affect the whole pond. It starts with ourselves, expands to our spouse, then to our children, friends, and anyone we come in contact with.” (Pastor & Dr. Chuck Lynch)
People hurt, mistreat, abuse, abandon and betray us.
God sees and validates our pain. But he also tells us to pursue peace so that we do not fall short of His grace and let bitterness take root to defile us.
Bitterness comes when we hold on to hurt and refuse to forgive those who have hurt us. It affects everything around us and causes us to have a hardened heart. We can even take on a victim mentality where we feel constantly wronged by others. It will pollute our overall view of the world and affects how we treat people.
No matter what we are not entitled to our sinful responses to how others have hurt us. Doing so only causes separation between God, ourselves and others.
We can’t change people or make them see the error of their ways but God can. But we can take our wounded hearts, bitterness, and unforgiveness to the one who has shown us how to love mercy instead of demanding justice.
Bitterness hinders repentance and forgiveness in relationships. The cure for bitterness starts with our hearts. It’s not something we do flippantly or dismissively without considering the cost of the sin committed against us, its effects and the wounds left behind.
Ask Jesus to help you process the hurts and choose to forgive. You will then have a beautiful gift to offer others – true forgiveness from the heart. A heart that says what you did to me hurt me deeply, but I choose to forgive you and release you from a debt you cannot repay just as my precious Jesus forgave me and released me from mine.
Repeated apologies, promises never to do it again, remorse, tears, pleading for another chance are things repeat abusers say to those they hurt. Whether they are causing harm through emotional or physical abuse, committing adultery, being deceptive, lying, cheating, or are engaged in other destructive behaviors such as addiction, they genuinely feel bad when exposed and confronted and offer appeasement for the moment but nothing changes.
The behavior continues causing pain and destruction at all levels in families and relationships. That’s because God’s word says there is a huge difference between being sorry and repentance, between regretting the wrongs we have committed and committing to change behaviors that bind and hurt others.
Worldly sorrow does not lead to the brokenness and humility needed to get the human heart to a place of genuine Godly sorrow and repentance before a Holy God that produces a desire to change. Worldly sorrow causes the heart to harden and brings forth death in all areas of our lives, while Godly sorrow softens the heart and brings forth life.
If we continue to allow others to appease us with worldly sorrow, then we must understand that things will remain the same. This is called enabling. We can’t change another person’s heart but God can. Release them to God, guard your heart, and pray the Lord will orchestrate whatever needs to take place to produce Godly sorrow in someone who is hurting themselves and others. That’s where true change begins.