Hurt is hurt. You can’t measure it. It all sums up to be the same. It’s hurt! Several things happen when we don’t deal with our pain immediately. We bleed on others! So, how do we control our bitterness before bleeding on others? First, we have to be honest with ourselves and admit we have a problem with bitterness and resentment. Then, and only then, we can walk in our healing.
Furthermore, when we begin to bleed on others, the bitterness starts smalls and becomes deeply rooted. Bitterness is characterized by intense cynicism, antagonism, or hostility. (dictionary.com).
When the Bleeding Trickles
When we feel hurt, we want something done about it. And, our first response is usually not seeking God’s guidance on what to do next. Hurt makes us feel a variety of unreasonable emotions, even, after bringing it on ourselves.
Subsequently, when someone hurts in our relationship, the mature thing to do is to work through our emotions with that individual. The end result is for two people to apologize regarding their action(s), and learn from it. That sounds like a simple task, but it’s easier said, than done. To clarify, we hate stepping on toes or offending someone. But, if someone hurts us, we usually say to that person “That’s okay, I’m good.” “I’ll be alright.” Or, “No need to apologize.”
We may feel that way at the time. But, if it continues to happen, and it’s not addressed, as soon as that person steps out of line with you, or does something wrong against you. Our emotions are out of control because we were subtle with the behavior from the beginning.
Therefore, should we have dealt with the hurt when it happened? Is it fair for me to ask you whose fault is it? And, is it fair to deal with it, when you said one of the statements above?
When the Bleeding Oozes
Holding grudges. Spitting bitterness. It makes us bleed on innocent people. What if we all learned to communicate when we were hurt over the smallest things? I believe we would all lead much healthier lives.
People don’t aim to become bitter in their relationships, but life happens. Right? The scripture warns us in Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger, do not sin.”
“Most of our bitterness and anger towards others is rooted in an inability to be profoundly amazed at Christ’s love for us in our sin.” (John Piper)
Once the root of bitterness starts, it bleeds into other areas of our lives. That bitter root produces bitter fruit. For example, The spreading of misinformation or uncertain facts about another person. (My pet peeve!) Bitter people always baffle me with their behavior. They definitely stick out and make themselves known. The longer you sit with them; the more annoying they become.
When the Bleeding Weeps
During a recent girl’s night out, several of us arrived early, so we started chit-chatting as we waited on some of the other girls to join the party. Upon being seated, a few others walked in and started approaching the table. All of a sudden, one of the ladies that was seated close to me said, “Girl, I heard the one in that short dress is sleeping with her ex’s best friend.
I couldn’t believe what I heard, and it shook me to the core.
Throughout dinner, I reflected over her statement and thought–Why? After a while, she knit-picked the entire evening with unnecessary comments toward others that were off-topic. The offender was “off-the-change.”
The next morning, I received a call from the young lady that was being bullied (short dress supposedly sleeping with her ex’s best friend). She started to cry after a few minutes on the phone. She asked me if I would pray for her because she was so upset about what had happened the night before. I could feel her pain as her voice shook. Not long after, she asked me if her offender had bad things to say about her.
Of course, on the other end of the phone, I looked like a deer seeing headlights.
Then, she proceeded to tell me how she has always tried to be a friend to her offender. It seems nothing makes her happy. Lately, she has been angry and sowing discord in the hearts of other people she’s around.
Dang! I was speechless at this point. I thought about all the comments she made about the different ones around the table. Honestly, for a moment, I wondered about the things she had said about me too.
Her friend (the offender) was bleeding. Despite the pain, I encouraged her to talk with her friend about her actions and how she’s been hurting her with nasty-immature comments.
The Bleeding Runs
According to her, she tried on numerous occasions to have a conversation with the offender, but each time turned into a blame-game. And, she was the one feeling victimized. Before long, it was useless. The offender was unwilling to stop the bleeding. It was never her fault.
Remember, I said, “once the bleeding started it was hard to stop it because the bitterness became rooted–undealt with.” Therefore, the friend became the innocent one she badgered (bled on). The offender wasn’t hurt, nor did she think about how she was hurting her friend.
In my opinion, the offender had become selfish and lost sight of their relationship. They were both in place to comfort, encourage, and love one another.
“In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.” –C.S.Lewis
The Bleeding Brings Forth Death
For this reason, the girls grew apart. They got to crossroads and forgiveness couldn’t restore their trust, nor mend their broken relationship. In this case, the enemy won.
Paul emphasized the importance of forgiveness in his letter to the Ephesians: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
10 Bible Verses about Resentment & Bitterness
- “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy…” –Hebrews 12:14-15
- “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful…” –2 Timothy 2:24-26
- “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” –Matthew 5:44
- “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar …” –1 John 4:20
- “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” –Philippians 4:8
- “To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.” –Job 5:2
- “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
- “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5
- “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:15
- “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
In summary, we all experience bitterness at some point in our lives. The older we get. I think we’re able to move through the bitterness and work toward having genuine conversations with people that have hurt us.
Bitterness is nacreous, creeping, pervasive, and consuming. It bleeds into our conscious and subconscious mind, which influences our behavior, our actions, our perceptions. Eventually, denying its existence.
Consequently, it becomes deadly. It divides families, destroys marriages, commits suicide, influences alcoholism, embodies depression, and wreaks havoc through sexual sins.
Moreover, if you are suffering from bitterness, you’re not alone, everyone’s bitterness is intensely personal, it’s unique to each of us. Our bitterness sometimes feels like no one else in the world could possibly be sharing what we’re going through, or could conceivably understand what we’re going through.
Be assured. We all know. And, we have all traveled the road of bitterness and resentment. Nonetheless, if it becomes too burdensome. Don’t forget to seek help. Even the strongest of us have too.
You can’t control what people do, but you can control how it effects you.
Recommendations by: The Good Men Project “The Conversation No One Else Is Having”
LOOK OUT FOR THE LESSONS AND NOT THE PAIN IN YOUR HURT: Some people come into our lives for a season, some for a reason, some for a lesson, and some special ones for a blessing. Never allow your past hurts to define you. It was just a lesson, not a life sentence. Look for the lessons that you’ve learned from the experience. Focus on appreciating who you have become because of what you have experienced. People will hurt you, but what you do with that hurt is probably more important than the hurt itself. Don’t just go through your hurts, grow through your hurt.
DON’T BOTTLE-UP THE HURT, SHARE YOUR PAIN WITH TRUSTED FRIENDS: It’s difficult to communicate how you feel to the other person, and if you can, there’s no guarantee they’ll respond how you want them to. But, sharing your pain with trusted and matured friends can help you heal. Have a chat with a close family member or friend, and explain what happened. Get their perspective and opinion about the situation, and maybe even work with them to try and resolve your feelings. Look out for people that can help you turn your dilemma into drama!
FORGIVE YOURSELF AND THE PERSON THAT HURT YOU: Unforgiveness is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone, or drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies. Life is an adventure in forgiveness, and without forgiveness, life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation. Forgiveness is the first step towards healing and happiness. When you forgive, you heal. When you let go, you grow. Louis Dudek said, “What is forgiven is usually well-remembered”. Forgiveness doesn’t mean ‘forgetting’, but it does put us on the path to having a good memory of the past event. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past.
DON’T ACCEPT SELF-CRITICISM, REBUILD YOUR SELF-WORTH: Most times, people over-criticize themselves. Question your self-doubt and your own negative assumptions. Rather than becoming mired in emotional self-doubts, worry, and sadness, you can take actions that will help you see the world, and yourself, in a more positive light.
EMPATHIZE AND DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY: The legendary Bob Marley once said, “Everyone will hurt you, but you need to know those that are worth the hurt”. Feel compassion for the person who ‘caused’ you pain. Try to remember that the person did the best with the resources they had and their own challenges in life. It’s possible that the other person got caught up in the heat of the moment and said or did things they didn’t truly mean. Likewise, it’s also possible that they are going through pain themselves. They are hurting, and unfortunately misdirecting their energy onto you.
This should, therefore, indicate that their words and actions have absolutely nothing to do with you, but rather all to do with their own personal challenges and insecurities. Ask yourself: Could they be hurting in some way? What could be the source of their pain? How could I best get them to open up and talk about their feelings?
WORK ON YOUR EXPECTATION: Most times, people don’t actually hurt us, but they hurt our expectations of them. You’re feeling hurt because in one way or another your expectations weren’t entirely actualized. When our expectation is unhealthily high and unrealistic, we will ultimately get hurt. It certainly doesn’t help if you have a set of unrealistic expectations that will rarely, if ever, be satisfied. In such instances, you need to work through your expectations and bring them back to reality. Otherwise, it’s possible you’re always going to end up getting hurt.
MOVE ON: The most tranquil question to ask after a hurt is “Where do I go from here”? If properly handled, your hurt can give you direction or probably redirection. Let go of the hurt and move on with your life. Pain can be a beautiful thing if you channel it properly. To find direction during moments of hurt, it’s important that you remind yourself of your strengths and of all the things that have brought you to this point in your life. It’s therefore important to re-direct your energies away from what’s hurting you, and instead refocus on your strongest qualities. Focus on things that bring you joy in the moment
REMOVE THE VICTIM’S MINDSET: Stop being a victim of your previous hurts. Seeing yourself as a victim after a hurt empowers the pain. One way to instantly feel better about yourself is to accept responsibility for what happened and for how events transpired.
In fact, you probably in some way — directly or indirectly — played a part in creating this situation. Recognize this. Take responsibility for your part in creating problems. Ask yourself: How did my actions and the things I’ve said or failed to say helped to create this situation or crisis? You are at least partly responsible for what happened, and this is a good thing, because with responsibility comes the willingness to instigate positive change. Once you feel at least partly responsible, this gives you the strength you need to potentially make things better — to right the wrongs.
REDUCE YOUR ATTACHMENT TO OTHER PEOPLE AND THEIR OPINION: There is a Buddhist ideology that says, “The root of all suffering is attachment”.Most of us were erroneously raised to value the opinions of others – dependent on how they view us. Therefore, when someone we hold in esteem judges or rejects us, it hurts us so. We automatically enter into a pattern of reacting with equal hurt and pain. If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection!
SET BOUNDARIES IN THE FUTURE: Most times, hurt can be a result of violation of limits and boundaries. We must learn to set healthy boundaries and limits in relationships that help us avoid disrespect and hurts. This will help you to move forward and avoid the same problem in the future.
REMOVE THE PAIN TRIGGERS: There are things that can trigger past pain and make you feel it more deeply. It may be a gift, hand-written letter or literature, pain triggers must be meticulously severed in order to live a fulfilling life.
Every hurt you experience gives you an opportunity to learn more about yourself. It gives you a chance to learn more about your values, rules, boundaries, and personal expectations. It gives you an opportunity to learn more about others and about how you relate to other people socially and intimately. And as you learn, you grow, and as you grow, you will make better choices and decisions in the future, which will help you to manage and minimize your feelings of hurt far more effectively.
The ways of the world and our sinful nature do not surprise You. In a way that only You can, move our hearts towards compassion and peace when our anger flares. Clear our hearts of bitterness and resentment. We don’t want to be unforgiving people, God. Christ died on the cross to forgive our unmentionable sins. You, alone, know the long version of our story. Convict us to tell it often.
Lord, make us a channel of Your Love. Prune us of the habits and relationships that lead us astray. Reveal encouragement and hope to us in Your Word. In Christ, we are a new creation. Thank You for changing us, as painful as growth can be, and drawing us closer to You with every note of bitterness and resentment we shed. Protect us from harboring these unhealthy emotions, and guard our hearts as we stumble in Jesus’ footsteps. We love You, LORD. We trust You with our lives and pray Your purpose for them over our plans. May all who witness our lives know Your unspeakable love by the way we live.
In Jesus’ Name,
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