springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.
When my kids were babies, one of the worst jobs for me was to change their diapers. I have a weak stomach and a keen sense of smell, not a good combination when it comes to changing diapers. The only way I could do the job was to wrap a towel around my nose and work as fast as possible. I could not wait to get my girls cleaned up and the diaper out of the house.
Now imagine with me for a moment someone carrying around dirty diapers in his/her pocket or purse for days, weeks, months or years? Wow! How gross! Surely no one in his right mind would EVER do that, right?
Did you know that people do that very thing when it comes to the hurts of the past? So many people hold on to the filth and pain of days gone by. So many people carry a grudge and a bitter spirit toward someone who wronged them months, years or even decades ago. These bitter folks feel justified in disliking this hurtful person. They feel entitled to feel bitter. What they fail to realize is that bitterness is a cancer that eats away at their own soul. Bitterness does not saddle the offending party with a dirty diaper; it saddles you, the offended, with it. As one man so aptly surmised, "Bitterness is drinking the poison hoping the other person will die."
GET RID OF IT!
I am convinced that one of the biggest sins in the church today is bitterness. Multitudes of people who call themselves Christians will not let go of a wrong suffered. Newsflash: EVERYONE HAS BEEN HURT IN LIFE. EVERYONE HAS SOME DIRTY DIAPERS THAT THEY HAVE TO FACE. You have a choice with the dirty diapers of life: hold on to them. or let them go. If you choose to hold on, the following will take place in your life:
Your peace and joy with God will come to a grinding halt. Jesus said that if you do not forgive men their transgressions, God will not forgive you (Matt. 6:14-15). If you choose to hold on to the hurts and not forgive, then there is no forgiveness for you either. Pity the man who burns down the bridge that he himself must cross.
Your bitterness will spread to others. The Bible tells us when bitterness springs up many are defiled (Heb. 12:15). Do you really want to defile your kids, your spouse and your friends with your bitterness toward another?
Your bitterness will leave you isolated. Human beings don't like to eat bitter things. We like to eat sweet things. Bitter people leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth. People will start to avoid you if you are bitter. You see, we just do not like to be around a dirty diaper.
So what is the solution? Let it go!! Take that dirty diaper of hurt and pain and unfulfilled expectations that you have been carrying around for all this time and put it in the trash can of God's grace and love. The sooner you get it out of your heart, the better you will start feeling.
What to pray? God, I want to talk with you about this situation. _____________ (name the person) hurt me so badly, and I have been holding on to this pain all this time. I see it now as a dirty diaper, a cancer of the soul that is destroying me and my ability to enjoy You and connect with You. Lord, by faith I choose to let it go. I CHOOSE to forgive this person who hurt me. I also choose to let go of any bitterness I have toward you, God. You are good all the time, even when bad things happen. Forgive me Lord for being so stubborn and self-centered. Forgive me for refusing to forgive others. I choose your will and ways this day. Change me, my God. In Jesus' mighty name, Amen.
To find out more about how you can break free from bitterness, please click here to listen to the sermon "IN THE TORTURE CHAMBER?" I trust this message will be a great help to those struggling with forgiving and getting past the past.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.