As we continue serving in ministry, I am sure there have been times when you were angry or maybe even bitter, but I pray you didn’t stay there. We all have ministry stories that have caused us a lot of pain and grief, but if we let that turn into bitterness we can’t serve the Lord with a glad heart. I want to share a blog with you today from my assistant, Christy, on this subject and pray it will bless your heart.
Have you ever been around someone who is bitter? They try hard to hide it, but if you stick around for very long you will see it. It just oozes out of them. They’re never happy, never satisfied and contentment is like a foreign country that they have no passport to get to. They live in the pain of the past. They won’t forgive. They’re usually stingy with their time, gifts and resources. They’re critical and cynical. Many of them blame others and even God for their pain. Bitterness is not attractive. I don’t care what the outside of that person looks like, if they’re bitter, it’s not pretty.
Can’t we all think of reasons to be bitter? Can’t we all look at our lives and all the pain and unfairness and choose to let it harden us, make us cold and calloused? Sure we can. Listen, I don’t want to be bitter and you don’t either. Our feelings of disappointment and anger are real and even perhaps justifiable, but that’s no excuse. There is so much more to life than focusing on who let us down, what was taken from us and what we didn’t get that we thought we needed. Because the pain is real, I’m not saying put on your big girl panties and get over it. Oh, if it was only as easy as changing our underclothes and instantly forgetting the pain, but it’s not. What I am saying is don’t give up! Hold on to Jesus! Pray your way through this! Beg God to help you forgive! Seek God with all you’ve got! That’s what I’m saying!….or you can remain where you are, turn your back on the only One who can help you and get more and more bitter.
There’s a verse in the Bible where Jesus asks, “Will you leave too?” When things get hard and harder, will we opt for what looks to be an easier path? Will we leave? Will we throw in the towel and say, “I’m done: This is too much! I didn’t sign up for this”. Or will we stay? Will we fight to keep the faith? Fight to believe God is good and He hasn’t forsaken us? Fight to have hope? Fight for our marriage? Fight for forgiveness? Fight to not become bitter? Listen, I know life is hard (I’ve been scolded for saying that) but life is hard. Ministry is hard. Marriage at times sucks (gasp). People let us down. Trials and storms beat us to a pulp. Disappointments are inevitable. But I also know there is beauty to be found when we keep praying, trusting and believing that God is enough. When we don’t know what lies up ahead but we by faith keep walking this thing called life out. When we give up control and say, “Jesus, I can’t, but you can”! There is beauty in that and it shows in our lives!
We will never get to the beautiful mountain top without a hard, exhausting, long climb up. We will never see the sun come up and the mercies of a new day if we don’t get out of bed. We will never experience the peace of God if we don’t let God in the broken mess. We will never see how God is going to restore us and use us if we don’t stick it through!
I’m praying that you can stick it through and not become bitter, but actually better! This is what God wants for you and me. He wants to restore us for all to see His glory and it’s a beautiful thing!
Isaiah 61:3 – “And provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”
I pray if you are in a place of bitterness, you will allow God to soften your heart and heal you so you can serve Him with joy!
We are here to walk with you on your ministry journey. Please let us know how we can.