Bitterness About The Past Leads To Our Destruction
Harry Emerson Fosdick said, “Bitterness imprisons life; love releases it.” This is a very true statement. Now, I told you I would get to the story of Queen Esther who lived in biblical times and was married to King Xerxes of Persia. I will get specifically to Esther in the wrap up of this series but today we will take a look at Haman who was an integral part to Esther’s story.
Haman rose in power to serve as prince in Xerxes court. He hated the Jews and definitely had a terrible sense of pride and greed about him. He expected people to bow down before him and Mordecai, who was Esther’s cousin, refused to do so. Whether this started the battle between the men or just continued it I can’t say. What it did do is plant a deep seed of bitterness and hatred within Haman against Mordecai and fueled his already burning hatred of the Jews.
One night the King read his records and discovered that Mordecai had once saved his life but had never been rewarded. The next morning the King asked Haman how to recognize someone special that the King wanted to honor. Big-headed Haman thought this was about him, of course, and made a bold recommendation. The King loved it and told Haman to carry it out ….for Mordecai. Can you imagine the bile that rose within Haman at that moment? He was probably thinking, “You have got to be kidding me!” He followed through with Mordecai’s recognition and then went and plotted a heinous death for Mordecai. And, had a whole plot enacted to slaughter the Jew’s which he managed with his conniving ways to have put into law by the King.
You’ll have to read the Book of Esther to get the whole skinny on this plot and how it works out. And, finish reading this series! But, I can tell you this. Haman’s greed and bitterness towards the Jew’s led to his ultimate demise. It clouded all aspects of his judgment and ruled his life. Which by the way ends in his being impaled on the very same pole he had made (in his front yard no less) for Mordecai’s execution. Fair to say that bitterness here led to his destruction, no?.
Here’s the thing. We have a choice to make, a choice to forgive, to refuse bitterness and hatred to take root in our hearts. Bitterness is a toxic, fast growing, nasty animal. It takes over and controls us and blinds us to truth. It warps our perception into a bizarre reality where we justify anything and everything as acceptable….especially if it hurts the other person. It makes us victims to often very silly events in our lives. It keeps us in bondage. It kills us on the inside. There is no room for life where bitterness has taken hold.
I have held a seed of bitterness within me for a decade and allowed it to take deep root within me. It has done nothing positive for me. It didn’t teach my children anything positive. It made me feel sick and unhappy and constantly told me of life’s injustices. Here’s a tip: Life is Unfair. Shocker!! Yep, life is unfair and justice is rarely served. Guess what? We still have to forgive and let it go. Accept it and move on. My bitterness over divorce and a new step-mother for my kids cost me peace for a decade. I am just now in the last few months really in a place of peace and acceptance. It has taken a lot of hard work to extend grace to them both.
Truth is I am not perfect and neither are they. We have very different parenting styles and even beliefs on the vast majority of topics. All three of us have done not so nice things to each other and made choices that negatively affected our kids. Forgiving them, forgiving me and letting bitterness go does not mean they won. No one wins in divorced families. There are no sides to even take. We both love our kids and they love us. And whether I want to admit it or not, I am not the only reason that I have superb young men as sons. God has blessed them both and out of the three of us whack jobs they call parents we’ve done something right – Me, their Dad and their step-mom.
You may be reading this right now and say, “Well, Jen, that’s all well and good but you have no idea what so and so has done to me. I mean it just isn’t fair. They should be punished.” Yep. I don’t know your specific situation but the truth remains. We (all of humanity) have been forgiven of all (and I mean ALL) of our mistakes and sins and those we have even yet to commit. We just have to accept the gift. That also means I must extend that same grace to others in the same measure.
I have had to let go of unfaithfulness, verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse, debilitating illness, abandonment, and a host of other things….and that was just a snap shot of the last 20 years. So I do get it! But I am better than those things. They don’t define me.
Try taking forgiveness for a spin. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t depreciate in value when you drive it off the lot. In fact, it appreciates and grows into a priceless thing. I’m still working on it every day. It is hard when you have to face situations daily. Let God do the work for you, I find it easier that way and you get better results. Don’t give bitterness a place to take root. Forgive someone as soon as that anger rises and see what happens. It is the best anger management plan around, guaranteed.
Stay tuned for how God has a purpose for placing us in particular situations.
Tomorrow: Call Of Duty
This blog is part of a series that will span about 7 segments. I plan on being very transparent with my own situations, thoughts and private feelings. The series , “For Such a Time as This”, is my understanding and perspective I feel I really need to share with others. It has lessons learned from the story of Esther, which you can read about in the Book of Esther. Esther’s situation was not her plan in life, it seemed like she had missed her chance to fulfill her own dreams due to outside circumstances, rose to the challenge of her purpose, risked her own life, in the process saved a nation, and rose to greatness.