Hurt has got to be one of our major problems today. You can get hurt so badly that you cut yourself off from feeling altogether. I've met girls who've said, "Hey, I've been hurt too many times. I'm never going to love anybody again. Forget it !" So you get hard and cynical. That's one way people deal with pain--they just withdraw themselves so that they won't be hurt again. But when you come to Jesus, God heals your heart and He takes the cynicism out of your life. You can once again open your heart to others and love again.
Even Christians can get hurt. It's not wrong to to be hurt, but the way you deal with your hurt makes all the difference in the world. Being hurt is a big enough problem in itself. but if that hurt is not handled in the right way, bitterness will set in. In the end it is bitterness, not "being hurt", that will destroy you.
It is really not that complicated to recognise bitterness. Let's think of some of the characteristics of an extremely bitter person:
Bitterness: the seed of hell.
One of the bad things about bitterness is that it doesn't stop. It keeps getting worse. It may only start as a little seed of hurt, but then it grows and festers into a very dangerous thing. Many people can be hurt by one person's bitterness.
The "Filling Cabinet of Your Mind"
In bitterness, you focus on what "that horrible person" has done to you. You make a filling cabinet with their name on it, saying, "Rotten things this person has done to me". Now this is a big filling cabinet, and every time that person does even the smallest thing that hurts or bothers you, you fill it in with the rest of the hurts. Usually we have more than one filling cabinet.
One of the causes of continual or persistant bitterness is that we try to balance out the guilt with blame. We say,"Well, I'm wrong, but they're worse. I have a good reason to be bitter. You don't know what they did to me!" That's how we try to ease our conscience.
Many people use bitternes for revenge. That's why we hold onto it sometimes." I'll show you, and you're really going to be sorry." But who's sorry first ? Your the one who's killing yourself ! You are not only hurt spiritualy and emotionally, but physically as well. Bitterness and resentment often bring on all sorts of medical problems, such as ulcers and high blood pressure. People who carry deep bitterness around can't even enjoy a great meal. They sit down to eat, but all they can think of is the person who hurt them--they might as well be eating cardboard.
Getting Out of the Bitterness Trap.
The Lord's prayer says that we will be forgiven as we forgive others. You need to be honest with yourself and admit that you've been hurt. But how do we overcome our hurts ? Here are some basic steps:
Pray, and ask God to forgive you for your bitterness and unforgiving spirit. This is not a complicated thing, but it may be costly. You may need a bit of time on your own.
Destroy your files. Remember that list of things that others have done to hurt you? Open the filling cabinets of your mind, take out all the files, and get rid of them ! You must release it all to the Lord. "I'm not going to hold this against them anymore. I'm not even going to keep a record of it." That's what God does with you.