When I came across an evocative sentence in the Psalms I hadn’t paid much attention to before, I felt uncomfortable writing it down as my verse of the day—so I didn’t. The reason I was drawn to it was because sometimes I battle fear others will get away with evil words spoken against me. That verse seemed to hint my fear was unfounded; however, before I share the mystery verse with you, I’ll show you one I chose instead (The podcast version of this is available at the bottom of this post.). Here is my recent verse of the day:
O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. Psalm 59:17 NIV
As I spent time writing in my journal that morning, I realized that although the verse I was trying to ignore seemed … well … err … mean, God meant to encourage me through it. And I believe He wants me to encourage you through it too. So, I wrote it down.
But before I share that verse with you, allow me to explain what was going on in my mind at the time. I’ve been editing a memoir manuscript with the help of some writing friends who are way more educated than I am. I’m honored to be in a critique group with them. And I keep hoping I’m contributing some value to the group too. While working on subject matter from some painful parts of my past, I was reminded of some things I have been forgiven of and of some things I have chosen to forgo being bitter about.
Forgoing bitterness is freeing. It’s a good and godly action. #Faith #Recovery Click To Tweet
However, I find current and ongoing hurts harder to let go of. When someone appears to be getting away with lies, slander, and neglect that affect people we love—never mind that it also hurts us, our blood may begin to boil. It may even spill over into vengeful thoughts. God does not want us to pay back our enemies. He wants us to bless them and pray for them.
No prayers are more challenging for me to pray than those regarding people who cause my family pain.
Here’s where the unsettling Bible verse comes in and reminds me—reminds us—we don’t need to fear others won’t be held accountable for the pain they’ve caused. Let’s take a look at Psalm 58:10 NIV:
The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked. Psalm 58:10 NIV
Ouch. Who would want to be on the side of the wicked when Jesus returns to separate the good seeds from the bad seeds? Yikes. How can I be worried about stuff that happens during this brief time when we sprout like spring grass and fade just as fast? No, we don’t need to fear our enemies.
We need to forgo bitterness and pray they repent before it’s too late.
We can forgo because God won’t forget. He knows each word each person has uttered. He knows. He remembers. He is coming to judge the earth.
It isn’t our job to judge.
Our job as sinners saved by Jesus is to pray the feet of our enemies get bathed by the blood of Jesus. God doesn’t wink at sin. God doesn’t overlook lies. Lies are on the shortlist of seven things God detests.
We can forgo bitterness because God won’t forget to judge. #podcast #ChristianLiving Click To Tweet
We’re not to live by fear nor walk by hate, we’re to live by love and walk by faith. God guides us with love when we follow His lead. His desire for us is to do as Jesus did: Pray for our enemies. Forgoing bitterness doesn’t mean we minimize the damage that was done. It means we carry less baggage. Forgoing revenge lightens our burdens by leaving the scales of justice in God’s hands. He won’t forget. So, we are free to pray that our enemies repent, that their sins may be cast as far as the east is from the west—forgiven.
Although we are allowed to dust off our feet and walk a safe distance from perpetrators, we’re still supposed to pray for them to be blessed instead of burned. Listen to what it warns in Matthew 13:30 NIV
Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn. Matthew 13:30 NIV
May God grant us His grace to pray for our enemies to be saved from the earth’s field and stored in Heaven’s barn, instead of bundled to burn.
Let’s behave like good seeds and not bad weeds.
The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. Matthew 13:38 NIV
We can forgo revenge because God won’t forget. #poetry #Bible Click To Tweet
And now I’d like to close with a poem:
Help us each remember
we too were once lost
and it’s only by the blood of Christ
our debt was paid at the cross
Help us each remember
we too were once bad seed
and it’s only by the power of God
our hearts were led to believe.
Christmas Blessings ~ Wendy Mac
P.S. Do you use Spotify? I hope you’ll follow my podcast on it. It’s called: Hope Walking. See you in January, dear friends.
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14 thoughts on “Why We Can Forgo Bitterness”
Thank you so much for this, Wendy. What a gift. I too tend to shy away from verses like that, for the same reasons. Thank you for showing me the gift in these verses of vengeance. I didn’t think about the beauty of then praying even more fervently for people who have hurt us to receive mercy before it is too late.
Thank you, dear Anna, for your comment. It’s been fun paying closer attention to the “uncomfortable” verses that pop off the page. It’s challenging to set aside what others may have preached and allow the Spirit to teach. He longs for us to listen, learn, and love. Listening is the first and biggest hurdle to hop.
Blessings as we ponder the Christmas Story ~ Wendy Mac
Thank you, Wendy. In this time of chaos this is a message we all need to hear.
Thank you, dear Catherine. May God bless us all with wisdom, grace, and serenity in 2021 to help heal the wounds in–and leading up to–2020. <3
Thank you, Wendy, for bravely exposing your own story with us. I needed this I have been wrestling with this very concept, where I get stuck is doing it with a right (genuine) heart attitude. God sees and knows my heart only through the power of the Holy Spirit can I pray for my enemy’s with sincerity vs obligatory duty.
Most parents have seen what I’m describing. A child or teen is corrected for something and is given the opportunity to make the situation right i.e. apologize, thank someone, perform said task, etc. Some do so with a tender heart and authenticity while another outwardly performs but is seething with insincerity. An “I’m sorry” with words but a tone saying they’re anything but sorry, or “thank you” laden with a snarky biting tone.
I find I must begin with confession. Confessing my weakness and asking God to transform my heart making me willing to pray for those who have hurt me. That’s a prayer God will answer and leads us into the next, praying for those who hurt us with a sincere heart.
Thank you, dear Manette, for letting me know I’m not alone in needing to begin each of my prayers with confession before attempting to obey praying for my enemies.
I’m continually asking God for His serenity, courage, and wisdom. My tank is empty until He fills it up with His power, love, and grace.
Merry Christmas and blessings for 2021. <3
Merry Christmas to you as well!
Beautiful, Wendy. Seems like God is always saying for me to be still and quiet and let him do the battling for me.
Thank you, dear Shelli. <3 Yes, He is the Warrior for those who wait and the Good Shepherd of the still.
Thank you so much Wendy! We all glean His truths from you when we need them most. I read this in My Utmost For His Highest today by Oswald Chambers. It reminded me of you.
“The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is not the one who teaches you something you didn’t know before, but the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.”
Love and blessings as you clearly and boldly express His truth!
Dear Deb, your timing is heaven sent. Thank you. 🙂 Each week I pray for God to help me write words that bless readers. This week I asked Him to encourage me if He wanted me to keep showing up online. Your words are part of the answer to my prayer.
When a speaker preaches, I may listen; when a speaker tells me a true, vulnerable story from their heart, I’m all-in.
Merry Christmas <3 ~ Wendy Mac
Your post is timely – for anyone experiencing bitterness over hurt and betrayal on either a personal or societal level. Thanks for once again using your personal experience and understanding of God to shine a positive light.
Thank you, dear Cynthia.
Beautiful blessings to you and your family this Christmas and holiday season.
Hugs ~ Wendy Mac