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Bitterness and Unforgiveness - 4

Scripture Indicates there are Three Kinds of Reconciliation, with:

1.  God – John 3:16, Rom. 5:10-11, II Cor. 5:20, Col. 1:20-22, I John 1:9;

2.  Others – Matt. 5:23-24, John 13:34-35, Rom. 12:9-21, Heb. 12:14; and

3.  Self – Rom. 7:21 - 8:2, I Cor. 4:3-5, Eph. 5:29, Gal. 5:22-23, Phil. 4:7.

 

Because of man’s flesh and hardness of heart, some people will never experience reconciliation in each of these ways. In the scenario with Bryan and Sally, Bryan is estranged from God, himself (because he lacks insight), and others (his family members).

 

Getting Rid of Bitterness

Forgiveness releases us from bitterness. As children of God, we have the capacity to forgive and root out bitterness from our lives. In Luke 6: 36-37, Jesus says, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Christ’s life within us makes it possible for us to forgive those who have injured us; we can allow Christ to express that forgiveness through us to others.

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As illuminated by Stanley and many other theologians, God’s Word presents the Prescription for Recovery from Bitterness:

 

    •Make a list of the ways in which people have offended you.  

    •Make a list of your own faults.

    •Make a list of the things you have done for which God has forgiven you.

    •Ask God to help you view that person who has wronged you as a tool in the hand of God.

    •Ask God to forgive you for your bitterness toward that person.

    •Decide in your heart to assume total responsibility for your attitude (Eph. 4:31, Prov. 14:10).

    •If you feel it is appropriate and will not cause more problems than it solves, go to that person, confess your bitterness and ask for

     forgiveness.  Remember you are assuming the responsibility for your attitude, you are not trying to solicit repentance from your  

     opponent/abuser.

 

We have two choices. We can allow bitterness to destroy us or we can allow God to develop us into who He wants us to be.

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References:

Collins, Gary (Ed.). Resource for Christian counseling. Dallas: Word.   Wilson, Sandra D. (1989). Counseling adult children of alcoholics. (Vol. 21).   Cosgrove, Mark P. (1998). Counseling for anger. (Vol 16).

Guralnik, D. B. (Ed.). (1986). Webster’s new world dictionary. (2nd college ed.). New York: Prentice Hall Press.   Minirth, Frank, Meier, Paul, Meier, Richard, Hawkins, Don. (1990). The healthy christian life. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.   Stanley, Charles. (1987). Forgiveness. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.   Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., White, W.,Jr. (1985). Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.    Ward. C. G. (1984). The Billy Graham christian worker’s handbook. Minneapolis, MN: WorldWide.

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