Winning Over Bitterness

This article is part 1 of 6 in the series Winning Over Bitterness

               “Acknowledging the Danger
   Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom, survived the holocaust of World War Two. She witnessed many atrocities against her people (Jews) as well as her own family. Her sister has been raped and killed by a German officer who was a prison guard where they were. The war ended, Corrie” began a ministry, writing and sharing her story. While speaking one Sunday, she saw the guard who had taken so much pleasure in their pain sitting in the audience. She immediately recognized him and the feelings and memories immediately came back. Denial of the problem would not help. She could not ignore him nor her feelings. He came up to meet her, and with tears and deep remorse, he began to beg for her forgiveness. As the story goes, she forgave him. He still had to live with the memories, and sounds of screams from his victims… They had both done all they could do. 
   Forgiveness does not just help the offender, IT ESPECIALLY HELPS THE VICTIM. To be able to go on with life, unchained, unburdened, and able to release the poison of the past, and begin healing. 
   Corrie understood that bitterness and hate could destroy her by giving the devil a ‘foothold’. Bitterness is the sour brackish stagnant water of ‘life gone bad’. It gradually becomes the ‘center’ of a person’s life and attitude –  the controlling factor in dealing with life. It eventually will affect all other aspects of life, and relationships. Every conversation will trail back to the hurt and pain, being constantly relived. 
   Pills or alcohol simply serve to dull the problem for a period of time. It is visible in outward actions, words, and expressions, and is always felt in the heart. 
   We will not trivialize this problem, because it is trivial. This IS a big deal! The suggestions made in this series are offered to help in the struggle of many to deal with ‘the past’.
   Paul says, “get rid of all bitterness”, this includes the ‘blood-kin’ of bitterness, “rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of (hate)”. The critical question is, how? So we begin our re-study of an old problem, ‘born’ in the heart of Satan,  
   TIME alone will not heal, it will take time PLUS something else. When we lived in Ireland, we had coal fire in the fire place for heating the room. We would build a fire and then in the evening, dad would put bits of coal and coal dust on the fire. This seemed to smother the fire, but it didn’t. During the night, this formed a ‘shell’ which held in the fire and the heat. In the morning, we would just poke it and the red hot coals would appear. All we had to do is add more coal. It saved time on a cold morning. We continue this for several days before cleaning it out and beginning again. This simply illustrates what happens when we try and ignore bitterness and even worse deny or justify our problems, which lie hidden until ‘poked’ and the ‘fires’ again flame up and we re-live it all again. Bitterness doesn’t go away on its own, you have to realize you have a problem and take definitive action. 
   Time alone won’t do it. We must accept that we have a problem, and seek a real answer to heal. Next time we will begin to look at the “door way” to healing….

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