What is the number one cause of bitterness? Here are some clues:
“No one appreciates me!”
“I feel like a doormat.”
“Why am I always overlooked? “
The number one cause of bitterness is feeling disrespected!
When you are disrespected, you become offended.
When you are offended, the spirits of self-pity or self-righteousness come to feed hurt or anger. They want to lure you into the jail cell of unforgiveness. They are very convincing because they validate your emotions.
A Personal Testimony
I remember one Christmas purchasing a large screen television as a gift and the recipient having a meltdown because it wasn’t the right size. It was an inch too big for their stand. They put the television back in the box and said, “This is just not going to work.”
I kept my cool until I got in the car about a mile down the road, and then I lost it. I yelled, “How dare they disrespect me. I went over there to be a blessing, and this is how they act? I would never do that to anyone!” (It’s days like that I am grateful for tinted windows.)
I heard a self-righteous spirit trying to grab my emotions, so I talked my way through it. “I went over there to be a blessing. Did I do anything wrong? No! It was their bad behavior that offended me, and the only way the enemy can trap me is if I hold onto the anger and cross over into sin. Devil, you don’t belong to me. I am going to play a trump card on you and forgive that person right now! You are not locking me into a jail cell of bitterness because of their demons!”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to be bullied. I don’t know too many people that do, so why would I let someone else’s demons bully me into having a bad day.
When I forgave them, did my emotions instantly return to a “sunshine and butterfly” place? Certainly not. It took time for my feelings to catch up with my free-will act of forgiveness. When they did, I was able to walk in love, and I had a fantastic day.
Forgiveness is not being a doormat, so I was later able to share with them that I made a choice to move in love, but their actions did not line up with God’s. They never apologized, but that was okay because I had dropped that expectation when I forgave them.
Forgiveness is a choice. It’s between you and God. It’s our expectations that open the door to offense through disrespect. Romans 13:8 reminds us that the only expectation we are to have of others is to love them.
If my story resonates with you, then make a list of people and the unmet expectations that left you feeling disrespected and bitter and forgive them as an act of your freewill today. Remember, forgiveness is your “get out of jail card free.” It does not make their actions okay, it releases you from them. It’s time to be free from the demon of bitterness and live victoriously.