Spiritual Cancer 1: Bitterness, hatred and unforgiveness
by Oge Maduka 11/01/2009 / Christian Living
Often times I hear people say things like, "I find it difficult to forgive any body that hurts me, in fact I don't like to step on people's toes but once any one steps on mine, forgiving is out of the way, I don't care what anybody says". Or "I am so bitter with xy for what they did to me, as long as I live, I don't think I can ever find it my heart to forgive them, they really dealt me with me and I hate them!" Very strong words and all too familiar, because I know at one point or the other we may have experienced hurt or betrayal even from people we loved and trusted.
The truth is that, except if you are living on an island alone, sometimes, there will be frictions or disagreements, financial burdens, loss of job, family or church conflict, people can hurt our feelings and we can hurt others too, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Dealing with the resulting negative feelings from our pains and hurt is what I want to talk about and the three most prominent are bitterness, hatred and unforgiveness. I chose these three because they are usually interwoven and very cancerous in nature in that most times they support and feed each other and also limit our growth by destroying the virtues in us. They grow in the heart like weeds with long roots and corrupt every good life in us.
When we are bitter with any body or situation it means that there is a sharp, unpleasant pain or discomfort to the mind, we also have anguish, strong animosity, resentment or rancor etc. Sometimes our reason for being bitter may be justifiable but we have to be very careful because that feeling can eat so deep in us that it becomes an obsession giving birth to hatred and unforgiveness. Hebrew 12:15 warns "watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes trouble, hurting many in their spiritual life"
Beloved, please don't let bitterness and its resulting effects build up in you. It can be such a restrictive heavy burden and believe me it's not worth carrying about the rest of your life. Yes, it is difficult. I know you may have a good reason to be bitter or you may feel the offence against you is so grave that you can't forgive. But you just have to let it go. You have to forgive, especially for your own sake. Sadly, as justifiable as we may feel when we hate or refuse to forgive it nevertheless puts us on the wrong side with God. Our joy, peace and blessings are taken away and that is because bitterness, besides being counter productive, is a large can of worms and caterpillars that are very destructive and the Holy Spirit cannot function in such an environment.
If the mere mention of someone's name provokes you to anger, stirring up so much resentment, confess it to God and ask for the grace to forgive even if nobody has asked for your forgiveness. Sincerely ask God to uproot every seed of bitterness in you. This is because when we refuse to forgive those who have sinned against us, God will not forgive us our own sins. (Mat.6:14-15) This is also a warning that when we don't forgive others, we are denying our common ground as sinners in need of Gods forgivness. Whenever we ask God to forgive us, we should ask ourselves "have I forgiven the people who have hurt or wronged me?" Jesus advised that if you are going to give an offering to God and remembers that you have an issue with your brother, go back to him and make peace first, before bringing your offering. That is how important our living in peace with each other is to God. The bible says we should pursue peace at all times. He cherishes it more than any offering or donation we give him and when Jesus was asked how often we should forgive a person who sins against us, He replied, seventy times seven. This means we shouldn't even keep track of how many times we forgive someone. Remember that Jesus forgave His disciples and His murderers and wants us to follow His examples in obedience to Him. You have to destroy that list or diary of offenders in your heart before it destroys you.
True forgiveness means we treat the one we have forgiven as we would want to be treated with love and kindness. We must forgive; we just have to purge bitterness and hatred out of our system in obedience to the Holy Spirit. I understand it's hard, especially, if you were so unjustly handled either by man or a particular system, but it's not impossible. God is asking you today, to let go! You have been bitter and burdened for many years yet nothing good has come out it, except sorrow and stagnation.
Take the bitterness to God in humility; ask for peace, grace and power to forgive. Allow Jesus to completely heal you of a bitter and a broken heart. When you do so, you will experience freedom, you feel wonderful and victorious! At the same time, you will open the doors of heavens for your blessings to begin to flow unhindered. Just let go and start living! You've got your whole life ahead. More so, no bitterness, pain, anger or hatred is worth making us fall out with God and lose our joy and blessings. Life is too short to dwell on the past. Forgive! Remember, vengeance is for the Lord and every battle is His.
May the anointing of the Holy Spirit break every yoke of bitterness, hatred and unforgivenes in and around us. In the name of Jesus Christ!
Ogechukwu Maduka is a christain evangelist and a lawyer who loves to write as a means to inspire. A passionate humanitarian and an ardent believer in upholding the digniity of man. She is happily married and blessed with four lovely children. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org