Hope avoids bitterness. The two can’t exist in the same place. We need to know how to avoid bitterness in our disappointments in life.
David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. 1 Samuel 30:6a
Two Keys to Avoid Bitterness
Two key areas where we can grow bitter are when we are offended by others and when we live offended at God.
Key 1 Hope avoids bitterness through Forgiveness
When we forgive others we need to remember to do if from our heart.
To forgive from the heart we need to make the decision to forgive, we need to have action that shows we’ve forgiven and we need to feel the peace that comes from forgiveness.
Have you decided to forgive?
If not, choose to
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)
Can you bless the offender?
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:28
If not, follow your emotions
Do you feel like you’ve forgiven? –
If not, use this tool
Ask Holy Spirit to show you a time you felt the same feeling you’re feeling when you think of the offender. Ask Him to show you another time. When you can’t think of another time, ask Him what lie you’re believing from that memory. Ask for forgiveness for believing the lie. Ask for the truth of that memory.
Thank Him for the truth.
Go to the current offence you don’t feel you’ve forgiven. How does it feel? Go through the process again if it still doesn’t feel like you’ve forgiven.
We don’t have a choice we need to forgive…and forgive with our whole heart to avoid bitterness.
Key 2 – Hope avoids bitterness through Confession and Repentance
The second way we can grow bitter is by choosing to live offended at God.
How do you know you might be living offended at God?
Have you stopped praying or do you leave praying without having peace? If so, you may be living offended at God
Do you find it difficult to remain in His presence or be still and know He is God? If so, you may be living offended at God.
Do you hear yourself saying or do you feel yourself thinking, “I can’t trust Him to good.” If so, you’re probably living offended at God.
Two tools for living offended at God are confession and repentance.
Most of us can’t theologically agree that we’re living offended at God. It offends us to think to think that’s a possibility. Confession is agreeing with God that I’ve been living offended at God.
Repentance is doing the exact opposite of what we’ve just confessed you’ve been doing. God is gracious, He hasn’t been surprised or offended that you may be offended at Him. Check out the Father who runs to greet the prodigal son. That’s our good Father. He will empower you to accomplish every good work prompted by your faith.
Life is short, so keep short accounts with people and keep short accounts with God.
We can’t have hope with bitterness. We need to be like David who strengthened himself in the Lord. More on that next time.
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