Forgiveness is the key which unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. The forgiveness of Jesus not only takes away our sins, it makes them as if they had never been.
~Corrie ten Boom
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
~ The Encourager, in Hebrews 12
Oh beloved, it is true.
There is one thing that us formerly lost boys can never afford. Oh, His grace is amazing! He can (and has) pull(ed) us out of messes that were so thick, we can barely tell the story. But, there is something that is worse than the stuff we used to drink, or smoke, or put into our eyes or veins.
And no, I am not talking about the pain that may come from hard work, or from the loss of a friend (and oh G_d!, we have been losing too many of those.). I am not talking about the disappointment from coming up short in a tough competition. Nor am I talking about all the other things that can hurt us in life.
Bitterness is a different thing altogether, and much more dangerous.
Bitterness is the rage we let grow when someone wrongs us, rather than turning the other cheek.
Bitterness is the web of fear we weave within our own souls, when G_d has forbade such a behavior.
Bitterness is the permission we seek to give ourselves to give into a dangerous behavior, even when we know it is going to kill us.
Bitterness is allowing ourselves to stay in our own hurt, so we can keep trying to fix our own problems.
Bitterness is the chains of unforgiveness we bind about our own heart.
Bitterness is the unwillingness to believe that Jesus will take us through the darkest of spaces.
Can we see it?
Bitterness is not something that happens to us. Bitterness is something that I grow within myself. And, it cannot grow unless I tend the noxious weed. This is why we see the need for what is called for at the beginning of Hebrews 12. The Solution is clear. I must (absolutely must) look away from the waves of my circumstances, and the pain within my flesh. I must (absolutely must) look to Jesus for any of this to work.
Yes, my life might be swinging around like crazy. But the undulations of my cycles of failure will only get worse if I keep spinning around myself and other people. However, in looking to Jesus and attaching my hope to Him, He becomes an anchor to the pendulum of my life…. So, even if things get really crazy (and they will), I will always come back to center on Him.
So, are you enduring the painful discipline of life? G_d is not trying to hurt you. He is trying to prove that you can make it through ever more difficult trials. But it will only work if you refuse the bitterness that will always grow within, and look to Him.
Tonight is your night, beloved. Time to look outside yourself and refuse that temptation to bitterness.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Daily Quote: There is one source of power that is stronger than every disappointment, bitterness or ingrained mistrust, and that power is Jesus Christ, who brought forgiveness and reconciliation to the world.
~Karol Józef Wojtyła
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7