Posted by admin on 03 10th, 2013 | no responses

Bitterness: A Deadly Poison

I once read a story about a merchant in a small town who had identical twin sons. The boys worked for their father in the department store he owned and, when he died, they took over the store.

Everything went well until the day a dollar bill disappeared. One of the brothers had left the bill on the cash register and walked outside with a customer. When he returned, the money was gone.

He asked his brother, “Did you see that dollar bill on the cash register?” His brother replied that he had not. But the young man kept probing and questioning. He would not let it alone. “Dollar bills just don’t get up and walk away! Surely you must have seen it!” There was subtle accusation in his voice. Tempers began to rise. Resentment set in. Before long, a deep and bitter chasm divided the young men. They refused to speak. They finally decided they could no longer work together and a dividing wall was built down the center of the store. For twenty years hostility and bitterness grew, spreading to their families and to the community.

Then one day a man in an automobile licensed in another state stopped in front of the store. He walked in and asked the clerk, “How long have you been here?”

The clerk replied that he’d been there all his life. The customer said, “I must share something with you. Twenty years ago I was “riding the rails” and came into this town in a boxcar. I hadn’t eaten for three days. I came into this store from the back door and saw a dollar bill on the cash register. I put it in my pocket and walked out. All these years I haven’t been able to forget that. I know it wasn’t much money, but I had to come back and ask your forgiveness.”

The stranger was amazed to see tears well up in the eyes of this middle-aged man. “Would you please go next door and tell that same story to the man in the store?” he said. Then the man was even more amazed to see two middle-aged men, who looked very much alike, embracing each other and weeping together in the front of the store.

After twenty years, the brokenness was mended. The wall of resentment that divided them came down.

Bitterness is like a slow poison that grows, infesting our hearts and minds with thoughts of resentment and cynicism. It is usually the result of envy, unforgiveness, or expectations that are not met. Bitterness sucks the life out of its victim, stealing his or her peace of mind.

Bitterness can either be directed at a person, a situation, or even God. After the car accident, I had a lot of bitterness in my heart. I was ten years old. I went from being a dancey little girl to being confined to a wheelchair. I felt like my dreams were shattered. I would never be able to do or become anything. I was an invalid. Every where I went, people stared at me. They felt sorry for me. I felt sorry for myself.

And I became bitter. I was bitter at people in general for being able to do things I couldn’t do. I was bitter at my situation. And I was bitter at God for letting the accident happen…for allowing me to be injured.

It was only when I came to Jesus that I was finally able to let the bitterness go.

I learned how to appreciate what I had, rather than feel bitter about what I was missing or what I perceived others to have. I learned how to forgive God and love Him again.

Today, if you have bitterness in your heart, pray and ask God to help you let it go. You will never be truly happy unless you do.

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