Bitterness can strangle a human being
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: It is painful to watch some people grow old and grouchy, especially people who once were strong and wise. What causes such a shift in personality? — O.P.
Dear O.P.: Resentment leads to bitterness and bitterness can often lead to mental anguish and even physical harm. Bitterness is like an abscess. It festers and grows, and eventually comes to head. But once bitterness is ripe, it will either burst or require lancing, which will get rid of all the poison. Even so, it still takes time for the wound to heal, and there will always be a scar.
Bitterness can strangle a human being. It can turn people into complaining, self-pitying people who eventually drive others away. The Bible warns people not to miss the grace of God, “lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).
The story’s told of a grandmother who had enormous influence upon her family, but that influence went from sweet to bitter when her husband died. She constantly diagnosed herself with every ailment in her home medical guide and became sickly and depressed. She kept her daughter in turmoil because of her imagined emergencies day and night. The grandmother tore the family apart, but never through self-examination did she see that it was by her own doing.
The root of bitterness is often living self-centered lives that leads to resentment and fear for the future, always blaming others, especially God. When things go right we pat ourselves on the back; when they go wrong we shake our fists at God. Resentment and bitterness develop when we persist in resisting what God has allowed to happen.
Those who are steadfast in faith through Christ should grow strong as they accept whatever God allows to enter their lives, and He will bring inner peace that passes all human understanding.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)