Bitterness is a real thing. It can affect us so deeply that we can begin to deal with anger issues, hopelessness and gossiping about the hurt to others. We find bitterness stemming from un-forgiveness. Let’s take a moment to discuss, “DO YOU FIND YOURSELF DEALING WITH BITTERNESS?”
First and most importantly we must ask ourselves: am I dealing with bitterness? If so, what has caused this in my heart. To overcome bitterness and how it is impacting us is deciding to forgive. Bitterness stems from hurts that have been stored up in our hearts.
It is important that we recognize when we are offended and severely hurt, it may replay over and over in our minds. Then it may lead to us retelling our hurts, in detail, to anyone who will listen. This then can lead into resentment.
When resentment is in the heart it is this feeling of anger and displeasure or unrelenting ill will about something that we regard as a wrong, insult, or injury. For the most part, when we express our side to the story it makes sense to why we may feel this way. However, we must be careful to not allow this deep root of bitterness to take hold of our hearts, minds, lives.
Some important heart checks you can include: Be honest about how you feel when you hear the offending person’s name. Do you only see the offense as intentional and spiteful? Do you find yourself looking for reasons, both real and/or imagined, to dislike the offender/s? Lastly are you forming more layers of bitterness?
There are effects to our unforgiveness. These include:
- Feeling of anger and bitterness are bought into every relationship and new experience
- It can become more difficult to enjoy the present because you are so consumed with the wrongdoing.
- It can lead to depression and/or anxiety
- You may deal with doubting your life has meaning or purpose and you even question or feel a sense of disconnect with your faith.
- There may feel like there is a loss of important connections with others you care about.
We must recognize how important forgiveness really is to us. It is necessary for us to acknowledge where we need to heal and who it is that we need to forgive. Be honest about your emotions when discussing the harm that was done and how it has affected your behavior. But most importantly is to work on letting it go and making the choice to forgive the person/s who have offended you. Decide to no longer be the victim and release any control and power this person/s and situation had over you.
Please keep in mind that forgiveness can lead to reconciliation. When we reconcile, we are restoring a broken relationship. Although, this may not always be possible, especially if the one who has caused the offense has died or if they are unwilling to communicate with you. Keep in mind, reconciliation also may not always be appropriate either. However most importantly is to remember that forgiveness is possible — even if reconciliation isn’t.
I understand the importance in considering if the person/s that you want to forgive may not change and how it can affect you too. What you must keep in mind is that it is not up to you to get the person/s to change when forgiving them. The practical part about forgiveness is more about how it will change your life. You will no longer battle the effects of bitterness. There is a freedom you gain. You will feel lighter and have more ability to focus. You will gain peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. When you forgive you have taken away power and control the other person/s had in your life.
Each person is different, just as every circumstance is too. When it comes to forgiveness, you may decide to do a face-to-face with the individual/s. You may prefer writing an email or a letter. For some, they just make the choice to stop dwelling on it and to let it go and release the person/s. God knows and understands where each heart is.
Another important point on bitterness and forgiveness is if you are the one who caused an offense and know that you need forgiveness. I encourage you to take time consider how you can sincerely express how truly sorry you are for things you’ve said or done, admit to it when asking for forgiveness. Most importantly do not make excuses for the offense and do not promise you will not do it again. Be clear and straightforward. Allow the offended individual/s to respond. Please keep in mind that you cannot force anyone to forgive you. There may need to be time and space for forgiveness to take place. Lastly, commit to treating others with compassion, understanding, and respect.
If you find yourself dealing with bitterness, please consider all that I included in this blog. Seek a counselor or join a support group to gain more help in this matter. Talking with someone can help. Consider finding a spiritual leader, a mental health provider, or an impartial loved one or friend. For some, writing can be helpful as you make steps toward forgiveness. I encourage you to take time to pray. Remember forgiveness is a process. Honestly, even the smallest hurts may have to be revisited and forgiven repeatedly. As you let go of resentments, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. Let me know your story. How has unforgiveness impacted your life? Are you walking in a place of forgiveness or holding onto resentment? I love hearing from my readers. Let’s continue to take moments together.
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