Chad* called me and asked if I would meet with him and a criminal investigator. When I arrived at the meeting, Chad explained that a former leader, Pat, he had worked with, had moved to his hometown and was lobbying to join a historical organization of which Chad was a member. He then went on to explain how decades earlier, this member had badly hurt him professionally. As he described the events his body stiffened, his face contorted and it was obvious that he was under stress just retelling the story.
Several times in the last several years, Pat reached out to Chad and expressed remorse for the hurt he had caused him. He wanted to reconcile. But Chad refused to trust him and would not forgive him. His hope was that since I knew of Pat I would recall information that the criminal investigator might have reason to use and potentially block Pat from gaining access to the organization.
As I watched Chad I was moved to share with him that his bitterness was killing him. I shared that if he would forgive Pat it would do wonders for his spirit and that perhaps Pat’s membership would even empower him and open up new opportunities. But Chad was angry at my advice and swore that he would never forgive Pat and that he was not interested in me applying psychological methods on him. I responded that it was not psychology but truth I was sharing because I cared about him and did not want to see him losing sleep, suffering high blood pressure and mental stress fermenting because of bitterness. Sadly, Chad had no interest in listening to me or the other attendee who agreed with my assessment and we were not able to find resolution.
Acts 8:18-23--When Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power too, so that anyone I lay hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter told him, “May your silver be destroyed with you, because you thought the gift of God could be obtained with money! You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity."
The Apostle Peter discerned that Simon was a sour man—his manner and words revealed resentment. Without repentance he could have no place in ministry. Bitterness is a horrible trap that seals its victims in an unpadded, sullen room. It steals peace from the mind and robs the heart of happiness. Based on experience that narrowly defines truth, it fixates on the past all the while spoiling the present. Please pray for healing for Chad and anyone you may know who is engulfed in resentment. Most of all pray he finds Jesus.
There are many reasons that seem to justify bitterness, but bitterness is always a losing proposition.—Lee Ellis in Leading with Honor
©2019 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
*Not their real names.