Then, the fear... followed by this chilling choking sensation, gasping for breath. Unable to get control of the air entering the lung a realization dawns. The fear is replaced by feelings of anger that are transformed into the knowledge of heart breaking betrayal. The world all around is shattering as the pain comes, the tightening of the throat as the poison is taking its toll. Meanwhile, above it all, this voice is screaming WHY?
My dad has this saying about bitterness:
He says, "bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies."
Until recently, I didn't even understand the meaning of that saying. Not until I was hurt by a close friend in a way I never expected. Getting over it and moving on has been one of the hardest things I've ever faced. Every time I think about or see the person I'm reminded to the situation, the hurt, the embarrassment, and the heart wrenching feeling of betrayal.
For once in my life I understood what it felt like the be made the villain. Part of me still wants to live in my bitterness and be the villain I was made out to be. "If you want me to be evil, why not go all the way?", but this is wrong and my Dad's quote finally clicked. It reminds me that bitterness truly is a self-destructing poison. It eats away at everything good and hopeful in your heart. Now, I'm not saying that it's wrong to feel disappointed or truly hurt in a situation, but I have come to realize that when my hurt turned into bitterness it hurts me more than anyone else. It makes it impossible to forgive and even more impossible to continue on with life in general. If we live with bitterness in our heart, it WILL eventually destroy us. We won't be able to recognize the person in the mirror, our beliefs, or hopes, our friendships will all be filled with this sickening poison. So what do I do?
2 Corinthians 4:7-12 reads as follows:
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
This is a really powerful passage to me. I actually studied this verse in my Biblical Hermenuetics class in Pennsylvania. When God talks of how we are "jars of clay" it means God is acknowledging that we are fragile, cracked, and flawed creatures. We are easily broken and shattered by the hurt in this world. This demonstrates that in the end we are fully dependent on the power of God. We can only find strength in the power of God. The next part is my favorite:
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed."
1. God is telling us how it is okay for us to feel. It's okay to feel sad, to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. But you are NOT to feel crushed because "this too shall be made right." (Romans 5)
2. God says it's okay to be confused and hurt by this world, but you are NOT to fall into despair! WE SERVE A GOD OF VICTORY! (1 Corinthians 15:57)
3. God says it's okay to feel put down and betrayed by others because of all sorts of things, but NEVER are we to feel abandoned! God is with you always! (Joshua 1:9)
4. And lastly, God says it's okay to feel like you've hit the floor, to have reached a point where you're hurting. Broken, crushed, falling apart... Trials in this life WILL bring us down, BUT you are NOT to feel destroyed. God has already WON the battle and he has greater things in store for you! (John 14:12)
"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you."
Nothing can ever separate me from God. He knows when I'm hurting. The key is to never forget His undying love for me. We carry the death and Resurrection of Jesus as our reminder of the great price God paid because of his love for his children. Because of His death we have life. I'm not just talking breathing-heart beating life... I am talking REAL everlasting life. A life without the weight and pain of a poisoned soul.
I need to remind myself that even when things are hard, painful, and dark. When I'm feeling betrayed by someone close to me, I need to remember to live for Christ, he understands my hurt and my pain. I am always fulfilled because of and by Him.
Then in the end... I can let go of my bitterness and throw that poison away.