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“Apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)

Hurt tempts us to comply with a variety of unreasonable emotions. We don’t aim to become bitter people, but life happens. Scripture warns in Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger, do not sin.” Bitterness is characterized by intense cynicism, antagonism or hostility. (dictionary.com) “Most of our bitterness and anger towards others is rooted in an inability to be profoundly amazed at Christ’s love for us in our sin.” (John Piper) It interferes with forgiveness too and makes it hard to accept certain realities.

Resentment is the byproduct of bitterness and unchecked anger. Colossians 3:8 warns, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Resentment can transform from a behavioral reaction to a personality trait. However, when Christ stitches our wounds together, the bleeding stops and peace is restored.


4 Signs of Resentment in Relationships
1. Anger: Anger becomes dangerous when we find our identity in the people, purposes and possessions we are so passionate about. The inability to let go of anger makes us grumbly and impatient with other people.

2. Un-forgiveness: Forgiveness should be a given for Christians because we have been forgiven. It’s a continual process, and does not always restore the trust required for reconciliation.“Have I really forgiven someone if I keep remembering their wrong?” (Desiring God Podcast) Remembering it, and feeling angry again, is normal. What we do with it is everything.


3. Ungratefulness: The Bible advises us to take captive every thought (2 Corinthians 10:5). When we are in the presence of those that hurt us, we want them to feel bad! Ungratefulness causes us to line up our lives in contrast to the injustice we feel, a pitfall to pride.

4. Lack of Empathy: We cannot let comparison steal our ability to see the everyday struggles behind the smiles.“Once we have been wronged, we may not look for opportunities to return wrongs, but we often stop looking for opportunities to bless."


4 Signs of Bitterness in Your Life
1. Hopelessness: What did biblical figures do to combat the onset of bitterness? They wrestled with God in prayer and did not lose faith in His promises or character. Scripture advises, “Pray about everything.” -Philippians 4:6

2. Discord: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy...” Hebrews 12:14-15 The Hebrew word for bitterness means a bitter root, and so producing a bitter fruit. When we don’t take our hurts to God, bitterness has defensive and suspicious babies.

3. Gossip: "The spreading of misinformation or uncertain facts about another person indicates that a root of bitterness may be slowly taking over one's heart." -Ligonier Ministeries

4. Double Standards: Selfishness causes us to lose sight of those God has placed in our lives to comfort, encourage, and love us. “In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.” -C.S.Lewis


7 Proven Steps to Overcome Resentment & Let Go of Bitterness:

Step 1: Thanksgiving.
“What wise counsel! Not quarrelsome, but kind. Not irritated, but patient …even when wronged. Not angry, but gentle.” (Chuck Swindoll) Define it. Face it. Acknowledge it. Replace it. “When God warns His elect not to fall away, He empowers them to respond.” (Ligonier Ministeries) We do this with the guidance of God’s truth, and He grows us through the process. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:24-26,“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”


Restore thanksgiving by making a gratitude list or memorizing a verse to reset the tone. (Click here for practical ways to adopt a thankful attitude.) Philippians 4:8 reminds, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Step 2: Become Better, not Bitter
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” -Colossians 3:1

When Joseph’s brothers saw their father dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” (Genesis 50:15) Joseph chose the power and peace of forgiveness. The wisdom of growing in God’s truth allows us to form healthy boundaries for bitterness. It gives us a godly perspective to see things in a new, fresh way, allowing us to move forward.

Embrace empathy over blame. Relational challenges and personal tragedies are by-products of a fallen world. God’s love has the power to carry us through every hurdle we face. “Begin by attending to everything which may show that the other man was not so much to blame as we thought.”- C.S. Lewis Additionally, 1 John 4:20 reminds us, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.”


Continue Reading Here https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/proven-steps-for-overcoming-resentment-letting-go-of-bitterness.html

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