Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Those who take the bitter pill are imprisoned by it.

Scripture of the Day:

Ephesians 4:31-32

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Hebrews 4:15-16

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;”

I wonder if bitterness was clearly labeled and a free prescription at the local pharmacy, would people fill the prescription? Seems like a silly question, but bitterness indeed is an emotion we are free to engage in, but the costs are high. Perhaps if the warning label was clearly spelled out (you know like they do in those commercials, speaking at an auctioneer speed, subtly in the background . . . if you take this medication you might die, have severe intestinal distress, yada, yada) then maybe people would be warned to stay far away from bitterness. *Sigh* But we do have such warnings – in Scripture. It seems bitterness is still a potion many choose to take. Why?

Sometimes you can try to bless someone, try to love them, but they just can’t receive it. Why wouldn’t they want to? Well, I have heard it said that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Why on earth would the stubborn horse not want to drink?

Miss Independent. Sometimes to a person’s own peril, he or she can choose to take your kindness but refuse to acknowledge it and instead turn around and try to defame you for some harm they somehow suffered. Their independent spirit is formed in pride that will not permit them to ever apologize for wrong they have done, much less admit they needed anyone’s help. Such independence sadly leads this person to a place of loneliness characterized by bitter hatred. Who wants that, right? But sometimes the payment for their position is lucrative.

Victim Status. Feeding on people’s compassion for their suffering, people can become perpetual victims. It might be that there was true suffering in their background that has crippled them to accept kindness – it is foreign to them. But all too often people of this frame of mind have been taking the bitter pill prescription for awhile and their perception informs them errantly that people around them are hurting them when they really aren’t. Still, their surroundings can become a breeding ground for their victimhood when they don’t get what they want.

Entitlement. The world revolves around a bitter person. Everyone around them is not fulfilling their expectations. Life is not fair. So the bitter pill is a rescue for such a person. Chewing on their demise, licking their wounds, there is somehow relief. Yuck! Some rescue! Life can hurt sometimes, but we do have a choice. Choosing to focus and think on things that have hurt us just hurts us and those around us more. What is it that we feel entitled to? A perfect life? Christ promised we would have troubles, but He promised He would walk with us through them all. More than that, He forgave us all of our sins despite our stubborn hearts – can we not forgive someone else, too? Christ chose to suffer. He certainly did not deserve it, and He was entitled to be free of such suffering. Thank God that He chose to forgive us and not give us what we really were entitled to – damnation. Why do people choose to hang onto negative feelings? What does their hatred get them?

Hurt. Somewhere in their hardened hearts is hurt that they did not deal with in a biblical manner. Hurt can be real or imagined, but it is what we do with it that matters and can affect our life and eternity. Christ has compassion on us and gives us grace when life hurts. But He does not want us to stay there. being fixated on our hurt just magnifies it in our eyes and turns it into something larger than life. There is an escape, though. But the bitter pill prescribers have got to choose to take a prescription of another kind.

Truth. Rather than permitting vain imaginations to fill our mind, we can choose to take those thoughts captive if they are negative and replace them with truth. God’s word is the best lens to use when deciding what is truth and what is not. Then we can think back on the positive moments of our hurt. What kindnesses did that person we are so angry with demonstrate? Is there a possibility that our own sin blocked our ability to accept them? Maybe their position in our lives caused our bitterness and then we just saw through the bitter lens. If we really want to be set free from bitterness, we have to stop taking the prescription. And we have to be willing to look back at the hurt and reassess. Maybe, just maybe, we believed lies. Or maybe the sin someone committed can be better understood in light of Scripture.

Forgiveness. Maybe the person who hurt us does not deserve forgiveness in our eyes. Wow. Such a statement might mean we don’t deserve it, either. But maybe there is legitimate hurt they caused. Does legitimacy in our hurt validate hatred and bitterness? Nope. Not in God’s economy. Trusting the LORD to deal with people who have wronged us helps us to forgive. Maybe we can even have His heart toward those who hurt us and choose love and grace, praying they are forgiven by God. God can do amazing things like this in the heart of people who are willing to get off the steady medication of bitterness.

Let it Go. Consider this – is the bitterness you exercise against such a person helping you? Why not let it go? Maybe they cannot have a place in your life, but maybe their presence actually helped you and you did not realize it. We can let go of pain and hurt because God did the same for us.

Bitterness is overrated. Those who take the bitter pill are imprisoned by it. People who choose to swallow the bitter pill do so because they are possibly crippled from their pain, or for the victimhood status it gains them, or perhaps to punish the one they feel hurt them. But there is healing when we are willing to face our bitterness and expose our own sin in the matter. Bitter moments can turn into something sweet when we add grace and truth. God redeems every hurt, every pain or sorrow and makes it a place of worship, instead.

Maybe you have someone in your life who is bitter toward you and you have tried to do all you can to reconcile. Realizing this is their problem frees us, too. We don’t have to take their bitter pill, but we can pray that they will one day be released from its power.

Lord, thank You for helping us to forgive and let go of any bitterness. Thank You for giving us perspective when others are bitter toward us, too. Your grace is enough. Help us to see the effects of bitterness and heed Your warnings.

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