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Bitterness and Unforgiveness - 2

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Because of the extreme fracture in Bryan’s family, I was left wondering if there could ever be any healing there; and what would be left of the family system after the parents were deceased.


From a spiritual perspective, we cannot hide bitterness from God or even from our own bodies. It may be manifested by a host of disorders, including glandular problems, high blood pressure, cardiac disorders, ulcers and many others. It feeds on our bodies for its energy and can paralyze our ability to cope. King Saul was destroyed by bitterness. He lost his kingship (I Sam. 15:28) and finally took his own life (II Sam. 1:19).


How do we Develop an Unforgiving Spirit?   (Stanley,1987, pp. 109-114)

1.We get hurt;

2.We become confused;

3.We look for detours;

4.We dig a hole;

5.We deny it;

6.We become defeated; and

7.We become discouraged:  we seek help in the wrong place or we abandon the relationship.


Three Barriers to Forgiveness

I. A need to blame others shifts responsibility for your behavior to another person. This is a learned posture which comes from growing up in an environment of shaming, non-nurturing and negligence. Blaming blinds you and takes the place of making new choices which you would learn to do in a nurturing environment. Blaming blocks forgiveness. When you focus on blaming another, this removes any hope you have for growth within yourself.


II. A desire to balance the scales (of right and wrong) also comes from living in a shaming environment, but this is a vicious cycle. Man can never balance the scales of right and wrong. That is God’s prerogative, (Isaiah 53:10-11). If you can abandon the cycle of blaming and balancing, you are free to forgive.


III. The power of being addicted to pain is a tremendous barrier in your life. Your pain and misery only fuel your bitterness and fan the flame of more pain and misery. You gain a “pain fix” each time and eventually become addicted. When that happens, the results are self-destructive behaviors and broken relationships. This “fix” is an excited misery; although it is uncomfortable, it is familiar because of traumas experienced in your family of origin. In actuality you have learned to cope and survive with dysfunction—and having to learn new coping strategies can be terribly frightening.

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