Monday, October 31, 2011

Bitterness - The Scarlet Letter of Silence

Have you ever been labeled "Bitter?" So many of us coming from bad situations fear that we will either sound bitter or wonder if there is any bitterness left in our hearts for those who have either wittingly or unwittingly hurt us.

The idea seems to be this - If you are bitter or sound bitter than you can be easily dismissed, not listened to or your story voided and cast aside. Only the ones who are not "bitter" are allowed to speak. (Sadly, this ends up to be all who are speaking!)

But can you imagine sitting in a court of law. Someone is giving a testimony on the witness stand and the judge looks at them and says, "Strike this man's testimony! He sounds bitter!"

Or can you imagine people in Jesus' day telling him, "Pay no attention to that crazy man yelling at the Pharisees! He sounds bitter!"

How about telling a verbally abused wife or daughter to be silent because they just sound bitter?

The truth is that any time you give an account of a wrong done either to you or to others you can sound bitter.

So many of us have never said anything because we might sound bitter or are afraid that someone might perceive us as bitter. Therefore stories go untold and the perpetrators of the abuse are allowed to continue on with us standing on the sidelines with what amounts to the Christian scarlet letter pasted to our foreheads.

Just being bitter does not change your testimony from valid to non-valid. Being bitter does not change the truth of the matter.

Bitterness is a heart issue. Someone can "sound" bitter and not have a bitter issue at all. Maybe they just sound angry. Bitterness is an internal thing. Truly only the person and God can sort this one out. Let's stop judging each other and let the Holy Spirit do his job.

The bad thing is we don't even have to have an enemy to wear the label. Often the very ones we are trying to help give it to us. Or for my own part I have to battle back the voices in my head that tell my own heart that I just might be bitter somewhere that I don't realize it.

Well today, I'm done. I've asked the Holy Spirit to show me where there is any bitterness. He has said nothing. I am so willing to repent if I need to but I see nothing. Therefore I am going to be free in telling my story as he wants me to share it and to urge others to tell theirs.

When you tell your story you have every right to be angry (you might even SOUND bitter!). When you hear someone else's story you are allowed to be angry! In fact if you are not angry then something in your heart is broken. Christians have for too long been silenced by this "Bitter slinging."

I'm asking that you deal with your own heart before God and then speak. Don't be silent because you must might somewhere, somehow, in some dark place that you can't see be bitter or angry or be perceived as such. It is not worth watching the ruin any longer.

Here is a post from someone who says this much better than I could every say it. The Bitterness Phenomenon

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Excellent! Excellent! I regularly have people describe me as "bitter". Not the case at all, but it is as you say... if they label me, they can negate me.