And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5 (NLT)
When a person wants to address the heart of bitterness they must begin with themselves. The examination process begins right at home by seeking God’s help in revealing the contents of your heart in relation to how you have sinned against others. (Psalm 139:23-24) You may be wondering why begin with your heart and how you have sinned. Re-read the Matthew 7 passage carefully…Jesus is speaking here and he tells people who prefer to begin with how they have been sinned against rather than deal with their own culpability hypocrites!
Friend, it is unlikely that you have no responsibility before God in these difficult relationships. If nothing else, your responses to being maligned and rejected have not been glorifying to God. Please do not tune me out at this point- I was once a bitter woman and I understand what is being asked. You’re Lord and Savior is requesting this of you, not I. What the Scripture says is true, confession of your own sin and repentance for that sin must take place in your heart first.
Some women wonder what they are to confess and repent of. I have provided a list today of common responses for you to look over that may hit your heart. These are all actions, beliefs, speech, desires, and thoughts that I have heard over the years.
A bitter woman may:
- Slander the person they are bitter toward
- Gossip about them to others
- Wish they were ill or dead
- Pray for harm to come to them- financial, health
- React with rage and smash and break things
- Curse and swear at the person, even if they cannot hear you
- Do malicious acts, throw away their things, and “lose” special items of personal value to the person
- Refuse to help them or do various expected duties in the home for this person- cook, or do their laundry
- Withhold intimacy of all kinds
- Be argumentative and pick fights with them
- Open separate bank accounts and hide money
Now let me say at this point that not all women do these things, and I know no one who has done them all. The point of the list is to help you to see the depths of your own sin, to prick your conscience or to make you aware of some things you did not realize you were doing. You must deal with your own sin.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)
When a woman has been hurt for so long and had so much hope that has been crushed time and time again the last thing she wants to do is to make herself vulnerable again. I have seen women turn a mental corner in her heart toward the person who has hurt her. When she turns that corner, her heart becomes hardened and her desire is just to get out of the hurtful relationship. I do not blame her for those desires. However, she is still left with the unresolved bitterness and anger and hated and is literally carrying all that baggage around with her for the rest of her life. Remember, bitterness is an invasive and noxious weed. It will entwine itself around every new relationship you try to have, continue to stink up the ones that remain, and spread beyond your personal borders.
There is only one option for bitterness…confession, repentance and forgiveness.
Pray about these things today and we will meet here again tomorrow.