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Bitterness Problem
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Caution! Your spiritual, emotional, and physical health could be at risk.

I am acquainted with a pastor experiencing significant growth. There was a problem, however, that plagued him for weeks and sometimes even months. For no discernible reason he would become ill. He continued to suffer for several years, at times making it impossible to function as a pastor. 

One sleepless night God opened his understanding to what was contributing to his illness. You see, this pastor was clinging to deep bitterness and an unforgiving spirit over an injustice many years past. When God gave him the grace to deal with his inner unrest, amazingly he soon regained his health. Today he successfully pastors a very large congregation.

Chances are some of you are living with past experiences that continue to stalk you. Though it may slumber at times, bitterness is often assaulting our lives more than we realize.

Five Possible Causes for Bitterness:

1. A boss treated you unfairly
2. A mate let you down and devastated your life
3. Someone started a rumor that damaged you reputation
4. A friend turned on you and broke trust
5. Someone committed a grave injustice and deeply damaged your life  

The problem with bitterness is that we carry the burden when the offender often goes on with life unaffected. Bitterness imprisons us and it can affect every area of our lives. So what can we do to rid ourselves of this offense against ourselves, God and others?

There was a time in my life when I clung to a rather large file “proving” I had been wronged and treated unfairly. As long as that file remained in my desk drawer I was a slave to resentment and loss of peace. Then one morning I read how God forgives in Psalm 103: 3-4, 10-12, “…who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion ... He does not treat us as our sins disserve or repay us according to our iniquities ….” That very morning I went out on my deck, opened the barbecue, and burned the files. As I watched the smoke rise up to heaven I sensed my bitterness and hurts rising up to God with it. I was free at last!

King David said when he kept silent about his sin his body wasted away. He said his strength was sapped. Exactly what my pastor friend had experienced before he released his bitterness to God.

It may be the most difficult course of action we have ever taken, but we must forgive, even if we are in the right. It’s not a matter of who was right or wrong; it’s a matter of obeying our Lord. Yes, you can do it! With God all things are possible. Maybe you should do it right now. Remember: it is your spiritual, emotional, and physical health that could be at risk.

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By David Snyder. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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