Bitterness

Scott has now called me three times within the past 24 hours. I never answered and he finally left a voicemail saying all the expected things.... he loves me, misses me, etc etc. At first I could feel myself getting really mad about it. It's so hard after all of this to not be resentful towards him and honestly, I can't say that I've totally won that battle yet. But knowing what I know about life and having been through so much, I know that in order to eventually be healthy, I need to really strive to never let that root of bitterness take hold.

When I think about all the things in my past that I could have given into and become bitter over...or the people I could have let myself hate, so much comes to mind. For example:

As a young wife & mother, finding out that someone who claimed to be my friend was having an affair with my husband and had lured him away from us. He abandoned me with a 3-month-old and a one-year-old. I used to weep uncontrollably after I put the babies to bed and ask the Lord WHY did this happen? What was wrong with me that he chose to do this? And I wanted to kill the bitch that took him away. She lived just down the street from me and I could look out of my window and see our family car parked outside of her house any time of the day or night while my husband was there with her instead of home where he should be. What made it worse was that she began harrassing me with nasty phone calls and would come over and pound on my windows at all hours of the night screaming obscenities about how this was HER man now and that I needed to keep my kids away from him. She'd scream that if I was any kind of a woman then my man would have never wanted to look elswhere.

That was a miserable time in my life and I REALLY struggled with the whole forgiveness/bitterness bit after that. I had no idea how to deal with it in the beginning. The wound was so raw & festering I was a bit lost and the only thing I knew to do was pray. I read a lot of books and I sought a lot of council and learned that until it came natural, I just had to make a decision to refuse to act like a bitter person. Basically, fake it till I make it. I made a conscious decision that I was not going to be THAT person. She could act however she wanted, but I would not stoop to her level.

Eventually, over time, I didn't have to fake it anymore. Not only did God eventually begin to heal and soften my heart, but I have also found myself in some situations where I could definitely now sympathize. I can say that I've been on both sides of the equation. The difference is that I never sought out like she did to steal a husband, I just sort of found myself in the situation I was in. But either way and no matter what the circumstances, I know that it is going to be the same kind of pain for someone involved and that kills me to this day. I never, ever want to hurt someone the way that I was hurt and it makes my heart so heavy to know that I probably have. What I hope is that by never treating them in the vile, hostile way I was treated, that they might heal just a little bit easier someday.

Bitterness is such a nasty thing and it steals everything from you. It's like committing a murder/suicide because it makes you say hurtful things and act in hateful ways at the same time that it eats you from the inside out. I understand the temptation... BELIEVE ME... but, the people around you are only going to do as well as you do and you have to make the decision to refuse to go down that path. As humans we are all going to sin. We are going to be hurt by sin and we are going to hurt others by sin. It's easy to sit back and think that our sin doesn't stink as badly as someone else's, but the fact is that the Bible says that a sin is a sin is a sin in God's eyes and the fact also is that bitterness and rudeness are sins. Frankly, I've got enough on my plate. I find myself in enough trouble without adding extras to the mix... I don't need to be bitter on top of everything else.

Even when I do something wrong it doesn't make me a bad person....it means I sinned. And when someone else does something wrong that directly affects me, how I treat them afterwards is a reflection of my character. The quote of Ashton Kutcher's that I had put on here recently comes to mind...
"It's not how much you love someone when you love them,
It's how much you love them when you hate them."

Just because I'm hurt, angry or disappointed doesn't give me the right to treat someone badly and it will have everything to do with keeping me crippled, paralyzed & bitter. I was told by someone angry at me, "May God have mercy on your soul." All I can say is that...he will. Thankfully. What I hope for this person, though, is that they allow God's mercy to penetrate their soul as well, because as I said before, the people around them are only going to do as good as they will...and bitterness is self-defeating. Two wrongs don't make a right.

p.s...
I eventually started praying for Luciana (the woman my husband had the affair with). I prayed for years that God would speak to her heart and draw her to him. A few years ago, I began working with her aunt who I became good friends with and found out that indeed, Luciana had gotten saved and was now a Christian. I saw her working the register one day at a gas station when I went in to pay for my gas. At first, it caught me off guard when she called me by name, smiled and said hello. But it wasn't difficult at all for me to return the gesture and truth be told, if there wasn't a long line, I would have gone around and given her a hug as well. She was a part of one of the most pivotal moments and valuable lessons of my life. She was working out her own garbage and I was working out mine and our universes just happened to collide in the process. There was so much pain and misery, but I'm glad I went through it...and I'm glad that neither one of us stayed stuck in the bitterness that could have set both of our lives on completely different courses. God is good even when we as humans aren't.

Comments

Love you so much.
Allison said…
I love full circle moments! It's awesome to see where God has brought you. There sure was a lot of crap along the road, but what a blessing to see how He turned even that crap into something beautiful. :)