But, That is So Hard to Do
As 2018 is winding down, we are encouraged to reflect upon the things that happened. The intention of that exercise is to count your blessings. However, there are many people who live with the vivid memory of being hurt, wronged, harmed, or in some way received a wound that they cannot seem to let go. When that wound lodges, bitterness can form. The longer that the cause of the wound is replayed in one’s mind, then the root of bitterness grows.
The Lord taught us to forgive. You know the Model Prayer…”and forgive us our trespasses even as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” We don’t forgive to let the other person “off”. We forgive to free us from being controlled by their behavior that hurt us.
Becoming bitter over disappointment in our lives does not solve our problems any more than the accompanying self-pity does. The problem is you are hurt and angry. Going over and over why you are hurt and angry only feeds your anger. It does not heal your pain.
Malcolm S. Forbes once said, “Keeping score of old scores and scars, getting even and one-upping always makes you less than you are.”
People are not always capable of giving us what we need from them. We must come to a place in life where we understand and accept that life is not always fair, and people aren’t always fair and that there will be people in our lives that hurt us, some intentionally, some unintentionally.
Bitterness keeps you in bondage to the pain. It also keeps you focused on blaming someone else instead of working towards your own happiness. By constantly replaying the hurt in your mind, you continually reopen the wound, preventing it from ever healing. Bitterness will not heal the past, but it will steal your future. And bitterness will leave you lonely. Your caustic anger and open hostility will not draw love to you, nor keep it if it comes; in fact, it will cause others to avoid you.
C.S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves: “There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in the casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless– it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
No one is ever going to pay you back for your pain. You can punish every person of the opposite sex you meet from now until forever and all the revenge you can ever exact from the innocent will still never heal that wound.
There is no one on earth who has not been wronged at some time in their life. Everyone has a story to tell, everyone has been hurt by someone. The pain you have suffered does not make you special; it is what you do with that pain that sets you apart.
Life can make you bitter or it can make you better. You choose. The only difference between the two is the “I.” (Excerpted from Sidewalk Flowers, Vol. 1).