Bitterness, resentfulness, sullenness, stand-offish-ness, walking around with, as my dad used to say, “a chip on your shoulder,” these are all sparkle quenchers. But it goes even deeper than that, this “root of bitterness,” as the Bible describes it in the book of Hebrews is a life-destroyer…not only of our own lives, but of the lives around us.
It’s not always that we destroy our lives and other lives actively or aggressively with our sour spirit, but it’s that we forfeit the opportunity to use our snowflake-like, one-of-a-kind gifts that God has given us to glorify Himself and to bless the world, in a way that literally no one else can do.
No one can touch lives and express the life of God in exactly the way you can, no one!
But bitterness changes all that.
Bitterness makes us inward. Our minds go round and round like a hamster wheel, rehearsing offenses, justifying our sullen spirit…and meanwhile, with each ticking moment, life is escaping us. Wasted. Those moments of bitterness turn into days, and months and years. And we can get to the end of our lives and realize that we had a dreaded companion and enemy, Bitterness, who stole away our opportunities and robbed God of His glory, and us of the joy of our lives being used by Him in a positive and wonderful way.
For me, there’s only one thing that really motivates me to forgive those who have deeply offended me, and that is to really think about what Jesus did so that God the Father would forgive me. That one fact leaves me defenseless in my accusations of others and of any justification of resentment toward them. God is not resentful toward me because of what Jesus did for me. It’s that simple, and that is the only real escape from this enemy, Bitterness, who would destroy us and rob us of the opportunity to be a bright sparkle in the world, rather than just another gloomy, pessimistic face.
This idea of sparkling is real and important. Have you ever been feeling down, and a perfect stranger smiled at you, looked you in the eyes as if you mattered, said some kind words, and in so doing, lifted your spirit? Even a stranger in a grocery store can do that. Think of the impact of touching lives each day with just a little kindness and a sincere smile. We can’t let Bitterness take that kindness out of our heart and that smile off of our face!