When someone’s sin hits you like a stone, hurting you deeply, there are four things you can do. Here’s the third—Get bitter. Bitterness is when you pick up the sin that hurt you and hold on to it. You don’t throw it back in vengeance but instead curl your fingers around its edges, going through the ugly event in your mind, retelling the story of your pain to anyone who will listen. But that bitterness will destroy you.
My first job involved hours and hours (and hours) of weed whacking at a golf course. I’d gas up the tank, grip the handle, and pull the trigger until the fuel ran out. But by the time my shift was done, my hands could barely move. I had held on to the weed whacker’s handle for so long that my fingers were stuck in that position.
Bitterness is like that. The longer you hold on to that stone, the harder it is to let it go. Hebrews warns, “See to it that . . . no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (12:15). Bitterness is a root that produces toxic fruit. It leaves you stuck—troubled and defiled. Getting bitter never makes it better.
So, friend, let that stone alone. Pry open your fingers with prayer, and let the past go. Ask the Holy Spirit for help (he wants to!). Ask your Father to remind you of your own forgiveness. Ask Jesus to help you love your enemies.
Just like he loved you when you were his enemy.