A couple of weeks ago after one of our NEO/CP trainings a new employee asked if we could talk. As we shared together she mentioned a wound that she experienced from an unfaithful friend – saying that the wound has healed for the most part, but occasionally, time ticks away and the pain turns to bitterness.
I thought, how often we all may nurture a hurt until it develops into an internal churning of bitterness. We talked about how unchecked bitterness destroys. A great Scripture from the book of Hebrews declares, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile…” Blaming, lack of forgiveness, anger, endless rehearsals of wrongs and self-pity become blades that keep wounds open and bitterness flowing.
As we closed our time together I reminded her that God desires for us all to be a living picture of grace to others, not their judge and executioner. Forgiving will free us to begin experiencing joy and gladness even while living with unfortunate circumstances of the hurt.
We ended our time together reading Christ’s parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7). In that story Christ is looking to restore, not establish, justice. If Christ brings the sheep back, He has forgiven them. That means there’s no punishment. We too need to be able to forgive and where possible to restore. A lifelong habit of bitterness takes time to break but Christ can free us from that bondage.
I sure was grateful for those few moments after our NEO/CP training … we will meet again.
By Bob Reichen, Vice President, Mission Advancement and Chaplain