There is a weed found in many pastures that boasts yellow flowers and blooms in the springtime. Driving by you would think they are exquisite, especially when a pasture is covered with them. Upon first look you may not realize that cattle will avoid it unless they have no other choice but to eat it. If the cow is a milk producer then the milk will be very bitter. The milk will be drinkable but not enjoyable. It leaves a terrible after taste in your mouth that will make your cheeks pucker.
Makes perfect sense if you think about it….bitter in, bitter out.
Growing up as a preacher’s kid I have heard countless sermons on unforgiveness and what it does to your soul. Specifically, how your soul may not make it to the mansion in the sky should you chose not to forgive others. We should forgive just as our father in heaven forgives us. I’m quite sure I’ve overlooked these sermons because I always told myself I’d never hold a grudge. I knew better and was taught better. But the older I become I realize that I’ve eaten plenty of bitterweed in my lifetime.
Sometimes we eat the bitterweed bit by bit and don’t even realize how much we’ve consumed until we see the transgressor again. I’d get this instant bitter taste in my mouth when I remembered the sins they’d committed against me, or my children, or even my friends. This bitterness builds up gradually because you can’t pinpoint the exact thing they’ve done to you. It could be just an abundance of small misdemeanors all kept in a memory bank and never dealt with.
This is the bitterweed you eat and no one can tell that you’ve consumed it because typically you still have a smile on your face and can live what seems to be a normal life to casual observers.
There are then the larger crimes committed against you that will have you devouring every bit of bitterweed you can find. It may be that someone contributed to the dissolution of your family through divorce. Someone intentionally mistreated you during a sorrowful time in your life. Someone caused you not to get that promotion you thought you earned. Someone deliberately hurt you or your child. These are the enormous ones that should be deemed justifiable. It would be excusable for you to be bitter against these monsters who brought pain into your life for no reason at all. Right?
This is the type of bitterweed that is worn all over your face in the form of a deep scowl and it oozes out of your mouth with every word you speak. When you live with this form of bitterness it consumes your every thought and creates a sour disposition that everyone you come in contact with can recognize.
What if the only bitterweed you’ve eaten is because of your own actions? What if the only person you need to forgive is yourself? Sometimes forgiving ourselves is harder than forgiving others.
No matter how you choose to eat your bitterweed there are consequences. The sad thing is that you are the only one who suffers when you harbor unforgiveness. Studies have shown that it actually shortens your life and can physically make you ill.
Forgiveness is not saying that it makes it okay that someone harmed you. Forgiveness is merely saying that I release you and I trust God to make this right. One of the hardest lessons to learn is that forgiveness is not a feeling. It’s a choice that you make on a daily basis that you will not carry the hurt any longer.
Once you have chosen to forgive someone you can then begin to feel free from your negative emotions. So now I have committed to living a bitterweed-free existence. I refuse to eat to it and I refuse to eat it on someone else’s behalf as well. The more energy we spend on negativity and dwelling on regrets it robs us of our future and becoming the person that God intended us to be. He has a purpose for each one of us in the life.
I refuse to be bitter and strive for better. Better in…. Better out.
“As far as the East is from the West, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”