Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rooting Out Bitterness

I have found such joy working in my yards. There is just something therapeutic about digging in the dirt. However, the weeds in the flowerbeds are my nemesis! They just keep coming back. When I go out to weed the beds, there is nothing more frustrating than a weed that breaks off as I try to pull it out. The root is still down there, so the weed is just going to come right back within a couple of days. If I want to destroy the weed, I have to dig out the root.

I started thinking about bitterness. It reminds me a lot of pulling those stubborn weeds. If I don't get down to the root, then I will not rid myself of the bitterness. Sometimes the weed of bitterness pulls out easily. You just address the situation with the person, find reconciliation, and move forward.

Over the last few days I have done some weeding in my heart. Without going into the details, I will simply say that there was a minister against whom I was having problems holding bitterness. I finally decided that I was tired of holding the resentment in my heart, and it was time to deal with it. I sat down and composed a long e-mail to him. I shared my grief over divorce and my disappointment with him for the role that he had played in my divorce. I felt so much better once I hit the send button. There. It was done. I had voiced my charges against him. Now I could let it go and move forward. That was, until I got his e-mail back.

You see, in my judgment of this kind man, I had made several assumptions. Those assumptions were what led me to the conclusion that he had somehow played a role in my divorce. His e-mail was very kind and gracious, but he set me straight on the facts, many of which I had all wrong. My heart sank as I read his e-mail. How could I have judged this poor man without first going to him and talking through the situation? Because of my sinful human nature. Why do we never learn?

I had lunch today with him and his lovely wife. It was a wonderful visit. I started out by apologizing to him for the harsh judgments. He was so gracious in accepting my apology. Having gone through a divorce himself, he told me that he knew that I was just searching for some reason as to how this could have happened. Then he just simply asked what they could do to help. I shared my heart with them about the struggles that I am facing. They listened and, in turn, shared many suggestions with me that were helpful. It was such a good visit.

Well, I started weeding earlier this week. The ironic thing was that I found out this time I was the weed. I had created an entire scenario in my mind that had grown into that stubborn weed. But there was much good that came out this situation. The bitterness that I felt this time last week is gone. There was even an added perk. I had lunch with a very dear couple whose wisdom from their own journey will undoubtedly help me as I travel mine.

I wish all bitterness could be dealt with this easily. But it doesn't always work out that way. This was unjustified bitterness. What about when the bitterness is justified? What happens when the person is not kind and gracious? What about when it doesn't end with a wonderful lunch? That, my friends, is another blog.

For now I am just going to give thanks for this giant step that I have made in my journey.

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
Hebrews 12:14-15 (New Living Translation)


  1. Amy, you are simply amazing. Enough said.

  2. Thank you Amy! We all need to be reminded of this at times. I too have been bitter over some things lately and this verse is one to live by.