Earlier this week I wrote about holding other people’s grudges. It’s an important lesson that most people don’t ever learn and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should go read it. But whether they are your own offenses or someone else’s, bitterness will start to grow.
Lately, I’ve felt myself turning bitter towards a certain situation. I find myself saying mean things that steam with bitterness. I don’t mean to be angry about it, and I don’t want to say the mean things that I do, but it just seems to be there. Luckily, I can feel it just starting. I understand what’s happening inside of me. I’m letting bitterness grow.
I know some people who have spent their whole lives bitter. They have a hard time keeping relationships and staying in the same place in life because they easily get bitter towards things. So bitter that it’s obvious to everyone around them that there’s something horribly wrong. I don’t want to get that way. You don’t either. Trust me.
This is why I’m so concerned about this little bit of bitterness that I’ve felt inside of me. I know that bitterness grows. I talked a little bit about this in my post Rotting on the Inside. This was concerning people at church, but the principle applies to all bitterness. It starts small, but it grows and grows until it starts spewing out of you and everyone can see it.
Beyond just being something that other people can see, it also ruins your life. It makes it really hard for people to be your friend. It makes it hard for God to do anything useful with your life. And it usually means that not many people are sad at your funeral.
You may think, “I’ll just be bitter towards this one thing. Everything else I’ll be fine with.” But that’s not how it works. Think of a glass of water. If drop some food coloring in it, it only colors one part of it right? No. The whole things turns that color. It might take a few minutes for it to spread. You may think it won’t spread all the way. But it always does. It colors the whole glass.
Bitterness does the same thing in our lives. If you’re bitter towards your boss, eventually the bitterness will spread to your relationship with your friends, your family and your spouse. Bitterness colors your whole life.
It feels good to be bitter. There’s something satisfying about holding onto anger and treasuring it in your heart. But it always grows. It’s a weed that starts small and cute and green, but it will grow and grow and fill up your whole lawn with goat heads that poke through the bottom of your flip flips. The best thing you can do grab it when it’s small and green and yank it up, roots and all.
If you’re bitter, then you need help. Go to a pastor or a trusted leader or even a counselor and get help with it. But if you’re like me and for the most part you’re not bitter but you start to feel some bitterness sprouting, yank up the roots! Now!
That’s what I’m going to do.