Francis Frangipane wrote: “Bitterness is unfulfilled revenge.”
A few years ago, two men spread some untruths and half-truths about me in a small Midwestern town. It wasn’t that the men did it out of maliciousness, but rather, they felt it was their duty to warn everyone about the mad prophet (me) in their midst.
When I learned about their words, I was shocked. Then, I was hurt. And finally, I was angry. How could they do that to a Christian? Why didn’t they talk to me first?”
My thoughts dwelled on what I should do. Should I confront them? Should I run through the town defending myself? As I continued to ponder my dilemma, more satisfying ideas came to mind. They needed to suffer. A little pain and agony would get them back on the straight and narrow. Just how I would get even, I had not clue; but it had to be done. After all, isn’t God a Judge? And shouldn’t I be like Him?
While I was worshipping the Lord, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. “Pray for the two men. Bless them. Don’t allow a root of bitterness to spring up in your heart.”
“Do what?” I answered, hoping that I had misheard, but of course, the Holy Spirit kept quiet. His words were already crushing my heart into submission.
Over the following days, I spent hours praying for the two men. At first, it was painful to speak blessings over their lives. My heart hurt; I ached. Every part of me wanted to justify my lashing out at them. They were guilty. And yet, by God’s grace I somehow continued to pray for them.
After a week, a marvelous transformation happened in me, I loved the two men. I absolutely loved them. In fact, I would have died for them if I could have. They were my brothers!
The two men never knew about my struggle. And whether or not, their opinion of me ever changed, I don’t know. As for all the people who heard the untruths and half-truths about me, I have no idea what they think of me today. And to be truthful, it doesn’t matter. Not one bit. Why? I’m free of bitterness.
Bitterness is cruel master that demands its victims bow before its altar day after day. No amount of revenge is ever enough to satisfy this cruel monster. It must have more. More. More.
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled (Hebrews 12:15).