Bitterness of the Heart

It's now been several years since I have graduated high school even though some days feel like last week. I went through some experiences in those four years that hardened my heart into bitterness against part of the community that I grew up in. 

The last couple of years God has been working on my heart and opening it back up to love all others even when others do not show love or even kindness back. 

He that said he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness even until now. 1 John 2:9

A few years ago I was still in the darkness.

I said I was in the light, but I was not in that light. 

I was hurting.

I was hateful.

I was bitter. 

I have forgiven those who hurt me. 

I have given up that hurt and that hate. 

I have turned my bitterness into love. 

I have found forgiveness. 

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

That verse was always a difficult one for me to read because of the bitterness I held onto. I struggled. I struggled greatly. 

But now...

Now I find freedom in that verse. 

God has forgiven me as I have forgiven others. 

I have forgiven even when there was no apology, because there will not always be an apology. 

People will do you wrong. 

People will judge you.

People will say nasty things about you.

People will continue to hate on others because that is the easy thing to do. 

It's easy to put others down.

It's difficult to forgive.

It's difficult to change your heart and learn to love.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Luke 6:5

However, once you learn to forgive...

Once you learn to love...

Once you learn to build others up instead of tear them down...

It becomes easier

It becomes habit.

It becomes part of you. 

You become a forgiving, loving individual and you have changed yourself to honor God. 

You learn to show others the same love that God extends towards us everyday. 

You learn to love always. Your love is not conditional. Your love is unconditional and always forgiving. 

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that the loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sings. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4: 9-11

Learning to forgive and love has been a journey for me and it's been one that has grown and stretched me for the better. 

If you struggle with bitterness, with anger, with hurt, with hate...I urge you to begin the steps to forgive. Not only will you learn to forgive but you will be forgiven yourself. You will experience God's grace, God's love, God's goodness and God's faithfulness more than you ever have before. 

It will not be easy. 

It's a road filled with bumps and curves. Some detours. Some dead ends. 

The devil will be lurking along that road behind bushes. He will do anything he can to distract you, to make you turn around. He will place people in your way to try to bring you down, to remind you of that bitterness and hate. 

But God will place people in your life to lift you and help you push forward. 

Your destination is worth it. Your destination is the light. You can see glimpses of it the entire way in your darkness. Keep pushing forward. Keep praying. Keep talking to God. Keep forgiving others. Keeping loving others through everything. 

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