Bitterness

HeronEmotional unrest; resentment; hate, animosity, rage, grief, anger or sorrow 

Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness. Martin Luther King, Jr

It is better to live in peace than in bitterness and strife. Confucius        

Growth in wisdom may be exactly measured by decrease in bitterness. Nietzche

     Bitterness is emotionally poisoning. It creates mentally illness. It is often brought on by something that is said or done to us. Bitterness and other such negative emotions are not actually caused by these outside forces; they are caused by our mental and physiological reactions to them. To be bitter on not is something we choose.

     Bitterness is similar to hate; enough of it can incapacitate us. When we are bitter, we can become sickened by our own poisonous toxins. These internally produced chemicals adversely affect our ability to function. Many of us can remember times where we were so overcome with bitterness, rage or anger that our ability to think and act rationally became very difficult. Extreme long-lasting bitterness sometimes results from broken relationships and failed marriages. Some have been regrettably suffering from this kind of bitterness for many years.

   Bad things happen! When they do, we consciously as well as sub-consciously respond to them. Our consciousness provides the opportunity to control our emotions, while our subconscious reactions tends to be automatic in response and more emotional in nature. If our subconscious reacts too harshly, our brains will release negative, emotional bio-chemicals into our system. The more emotionally we react, the stronger the bitterness and worse the effect. Our emotions can take over and seize control of us. We are unwise to allow this to happen. Bitterness takes us off course; out of our routine and can saddle us with physical sickness as well. Bitterness causes us to be a puppet on a string. We should not allow our subconscious reactions to pull our strings and take away conscious control of our rational emotions.  

    When we are presented with a strong stimulus (emotional event), we tend to respond without thinking. When we do not exercise any conscious control; we tend to react more primitively.  We are not in control. Our reactions control us. We should learn to respond to negative stimuli in consciously controlled manners. Milder and more subdued emotional responses such as disappointment and concern are much more desirable than bitterness, hate or rage. The milder our reaction, the more we stay in control and better we can respond; get past it and move on to more important things. We should always really try to avoid harboring any bitterness. It is bad for us. We can take better care of ourselves and not succumb to its harmful effects.

Challenge:  Do you suffer from bitterness over something that has happened? As you relive the event, feel the poisonous toxins having their effect on your mental and physical well-being. You would not purposely eat or drink anything that would cause you to feel this way. When you allow bitterness to get the upper hand you are poisoning yourself. Train yourself to take conscious control of your emotional reactions to things that happen.

Wisdom: Bitterness imprisons life; love releases it. Bitterness paralyzes life; love empowers it. Bitterness sours life; love sweetens it. Bitterness sickens life; love heals it. Bitterness blinds life; love anoints its eyes.  Harry Emerson Fosdick

Spiritual: (NIV)

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord, Psalm 31:24

When we allow ourselves to be bitter, we shut off ourselves from God’s power and love. We cannot be bitter while being close to God. He helps us replace bitterness with his love. That makes all the difference. It is hard to be bitter when we are experiencing love.  The more we have love in our hearts, the harder it becomes for us to allow any negative emotions to get the better of us. God gives us the power and strength to overcome them.   

Prayer:   Help me to avoid bitterness, hate, rage, and other negative emotions. Help me to have a spirit of love.

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