In 1930, The Chicago Examiner ran a strange story about a man named Harry Havens, who went to bed and stayed there for seven years, with a blindfold over his eyes, because he was angry at his wife. He was the kind of husband who liked to help around the house, and one day his wife scolded him for the way he did the dishes.
This made Harry so angry that he said, “All right, if that’s the way you feel, I’m going to bed. I’m going to stay there for the rest of my life and I don’t want to see you ever again.” He stayed in bed with a blindfold around his eyes for seven years. The article concludes by saying that he got up when the bed started to feel uncomfortable.
Are you blinded by any bitterness in your life today? Do you have any unresolved anger toward your spouse, your kids, your parents, your boss, or a friend?
The Bible makes clear that we must do whatever it takes to not let a root of bitterness grow in the soil of our souls: “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15).
When bitterness is allowed to breed, it will always lead to an offspring of antagonism that hurts those around you while destroying yourself in the process. Actually, it hurts you more than anyone else. It’s like swallowing a bottle of poison and then waiting for the other person to die.
A couple weeks ago, our church hosted “The Peacemaker Seminar.” The presenter taught us that people typically respond to conflict in one of three ways. Some try to escape conflict (peace-faking); others go into attack mode (peace-breaking); while a few try to implement true reconciliation (peace-making).
Since Jesus pronounces a blessing upon the “peacemakers,” we must strive to respond to conflict biblically (see Matthew 5:9). If we don’t, a bitter plant will put down its ugly roots in our lives.
If bitterness has put you to bed and has led you to a place you don’t want to be, let me suggest some ways for you to get back on your feet again.
First, confess your sins to God about the ways you have wronged Him and others (see 1 John 1:9). Second, own up to your part of the conflict by getting the log out of your eye (see Luke 6:42). Third, cherish how much God has forgiven you in Christ (see Colossians 3:13). Fourth, actively forgive those who have wronged you by setting them free of ever having to pay you back (see Ephesians 4:32). Fifth, trust in God’s justice (see Romans 12:19).
It has been said that when we hold a grudge, we end up slighting the Judge.
If you’re feeling bitter today about something that was said to you, or done to you, remember that Jesus paid the price for all those wrongs, as well as all the sins you’ve committed.That’s why the gospel is called Good News. Put your faith and trust in Jesus as your Forgiver and determine to follow Him as your Leader.
Don’t allow your hurts to turn into hate. You can become bitter or better. The choice is up to you. Claim the promise of James 3:18: “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” That’s better than staying in the uncomfortable bed of bitterness.