For the last week, I have been struggling intensely with bitterness. Bitterness is a complicated emotion- for me, its components consist of anger, guilt, hurt, shame, frustration, and frighteningly, twinges of hate. I have been crying out to God that He would release me of my sin. I know it is wrong. I can feel my heart hardening each time I replay the scenario in my mind. My culpability diminishes and I can only see how the other person was wrong. However, Scripture is clear that each person thinks of herself as wise in her own eyes. Rarely does a conflict occur in which one person is solely to blame. I was as much the instigator and perpetuator as was the other party, and for this, I am ashamed. Showing Christ's love is easy when your life is filled with kind, godly people. At least I can freely show love and grace to people I get along with. I realized this week that to love as Christ loves means I must put aside my initial emotional response of pride. If untrue or unkind things are said about me or to me, I can practice my faith, show love, and count myself thankful to share in this one minor suffering as Christ did. This sounds so noble as I write it and it serves to make me even more ashamed of my behavior and thoughts since this particular incident. My heart knows where it harbors bitterness. My part of the process of sanctification is to identify this, root it out, and freely give all of it to God.
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. " -Eph. 4: 31-32
I cannot give it of my own accord. My heart has a tendency to want to stay black and unregenerate. Scripture tells me to rid myself of bitterness, however, so I must meditate on the Word and pray that God would take it from me. It is certainly more fun for me to sit and stew and convince myself how I am so right and the other party is so wrong and how dare they and so on. But I desire to be a godly Christian, a godly woman. I desire to have a soft and tender heart all of the time, not just in front of my Christian friends or for show. I want to grow into a mighty woman of the Lord and seek wisdom all the days of my life. But to where do I look for wisdom?
"But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but it earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish amnition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." -James 3: 14-16
God's wisdom is all that I should seek. His truths are simple- love as I have been loved, forgive as I have been forgiven. While I do not have the power to do that on my own, He freely gives me the strength do to it through Him. So I will press on. To show good fruit, my roots must be unwavering.