Motherhood has taught me a lot about grace and forgiveness. I take this journey day by day, and I’ve had my share of mistakes in parenting. My children have had their share of mistakes from spills, interactions with their siblings, and don’t get me started with what my twin toddlers have done with crayons to our walls. They forgive me when mom has a moment of frustration.I lovingly forgive them with a hug even though some of their actions I know that they were raised better not to do in their behavior. I get my magic eraser with warm water to wipe the crayon marks off the wall. It seems easy to give grace to our children no matter the age in embracing love while being open to extending mercy. I’ve learned through marriage that it’s more about giving grace, having patience, and letting go of the past in seeing the bigger picture. I have seen that it’s easier said than done in releasing bitterness from past hurts and offensives with our close knit family than other relationships and circumstances. I saw the burden in carrying such a heavy load of unforgiveness which later lead to awkward grudges. I learned how to breakthrough bitterness from my past, so I can move forward open to greater beginnings in all aspects of my life for the future.
Are you bitter?
Who wants to admit to being salty and bitter? I doubt that there will be a lot of hands in the room waving in the air after asking such a question. I think to begin the healing process in aiming at personal growth that it’s best to first take full ownership of where you are regarding a situation.
Ask yourself the following questions in owning up to see if you’re acting from a place of bitterness:
- Do you constantly find yourself reliving a negative experience in bringing it up in everyday causal conversations?
- Does a particular situation have you so frustrated and upset with emotions that you begin to lash out to those closest to you?
- Have you resulted in being spiteful to seek revenge?
- Have you participated in rants, smear campaigns, or public shaming against the person or the situation in pulling others in with your hurt within a situation?
- Do you get so upset that you avoid participating in what you love or once enjoyed because of a particular person or situation?
- Do you blame everyone for what happened to you even if you know it wasn’t their fault?
- Have you found security in being the victim, or do you make everyone pay you back emotionally through reminders as a martyr?
- Have you seen yourself being distant, cold, and withdrawn from your usual personality because of a particular person or situation?
- Do you now live a fight or flight scenario in all situations?
There will be cases where depending on the situation we are absolutely justified in how we feel in being hurt. There will be situations where an offense was done to us or someone we love where justice is needed. It’s not about sweeping anything under the rug it’s about beginning the process of healing through forgiveness. It’s about releasing the need to be in control, but allowing God through his power act in full authority over our lives.
No One Said It Was Easy
There have been some people that have hurt me deep to the core. I have had my share of disappointments, flakes, and even being thrown under the bus by those who cowardly never took ownership for what they did needing someone to be the scapegoat . It was not easy after college in finding a career in my field that paid well. I worked a lot of odd jobs, and the management sucked! I was giving checks that bounced after a week of hard labor and dedication. What I learned that small businesses that aren’t able to pay well or have the support weren’t as nice in seeing you leave for something better. Despite their efforts they can’t afford for you to leave, so a toxic management doesn’t mind a smear campaign in keeping you stagnant. I have been failed by friends in some instances. The betrayal of a friend that you once thought the world of and had tons of selfies makes you a bit leery in letting others get close to you again. I’ve been there. Church hurt can crush your spirit, and I have been let down by being hurt on a few occasions at church. Many of us have felt hurt, and sadly ostracized by fellow believers from the place we came to serve and be healed. I had to live through the pain of not only leaving an abusive relationship, but I was unaware of the long healing process that effects you mentally from such a traumatic experience. My father growing up was in and out of our home. I saw how my mother struggled in raising my brothers and I. I felt that in some ways we were abandoned, and sadly after his tragic death there were no answers for us as his children to know the reasons why of his behavior. As, a little girl I was sexually abused by an uncle. I didn’t know how to express what was happening being as young as I was. I kept the secret through adulthood, and shortly after the birth of my son the perpetrator passed away unscathed. I know how it feels to be broken, hurt, misrepresented, accused, and to live never to receive an apology. I have had business deals to sour where my ideas were stolen to be someone’s own in having no shame in taking credit. I carried the weight of that hurt for years. I saw how it impacted me in so many areas of my life. I gave each one of those incidents power over my life in controlling my interactions. There are to many other incidents to name. I knew that there was a better life for me, and I deserved to have my claim in happiness like anyone else. I didn’t want to be identified as a victim. I saw the great things that God did in my life despite the hurt. There was a light at the end of the tunnel. There was hope in the midst of despair. I wasn’t going to let the pass control my future. I learned how to flip the pain in discovering something creative inside of me. I wasn’t going to just survive from those things. No, I made the decision to thrive!
Let The Healing Begin
Here are a few steps to heal in breaking through bitterness:
- Make the decision to begin the healing process to release the pain. This is not an overnight process. It is something that you and only you can decide to be open to receive.
- Pray and do your research in studying the bible for scriptures in relation to forgiveness, healing, restoration, and bitterness. Apply what you have reflected in prayer and study to your daily life.
- Don’t surround yourself with enablers who constantly support you in reliving the pain from your past in practicing behaviors that aren’t of good character.
- Find a trusted person to talk about your concerns, but allow space to begin to talk about how to begin the healing process. If you keep reliving the experience in a negative way you won’t be able to heal.
- Don’t allow the pain from any experience to be an excuse to mistreat others, act in malicious acts, or to inflict pain as a pay back.
- Let go of spite and vindictiveness. It might look like someone has it easy after they have hurt you through looking at their advancements of their life or pictures via social media. The bible says we reap what we’ve sown. Allow God to fight your battles in being your vindcator.
- Accept the apology that was never giving. There are many reasons why we may never hear the words “I’m sorry!” by someone who has deeply hurt us. The person may simply lack in taking ownership, moved far in distance for a face to face conversation, or even passed away. We can’t force an apology despite our efforts, and if we had to force it “Would it be the same? ” Write a letter and burn it if you have to, but let it go.
- Find strength in being a survivor than a victim.
- Don’t allow anyone to run you way from what you love and enjoy. I have found myself in the past years revisiting some places where I have been hurt. It was on my bucket list of things. I may had tears in some of those encounters, but I survived in pushing through. I do what I am passionate about despite the pain from bad experiences.
- Know that it’s okay to love from a far. There are some situation depending on how toxic or the severity you may have to forgive yet distance yourself from.
- Don’t allow a negative experience to hinder you from receiving the possibility of healthy relationships, rewarding friendships, and great opportunities.
- Don’t find your identity within your past rather by you or made up by someone else. People will eventually see you for you. Never feel like you have to prove yourself or someone’s perception.
- Own your peace by abiding in love. Never stop being able to receive love or offer love.
May God create in you a clean heart to be open to receive a blessing for you and your family. May you go forth in peace.