What if you could let go of the bitterness that holds you back? This one question, found in this excerpt from the Deep Clean Bible Plan, may help you take the first step.
The process of deep cleaning is long and painful. You not only have to pick up the clutter but also have to address the hidden dirt that collects in the baseboards, the corners, and the places you don’t often look. In the process, it starts to look and feel even messier than you started, and you’re tempted to walk away and give up.
The process of deep cleaning our souls works the same way. It’s painful to unpack a lifetime of emotional baggage. But if we keep going, we will find healing.
One of the hardest things to purge is bitterness and unforgiveness. We’re tempted to think that unforgiveness gives us power, when in reality, it keeps us a victim.
Yet we keep clinging to our unforgiveness, convinced that doing so is fair.
But as Jesus followers, we don’t focus on what’s fair. We focus on being faithful. And one of the most faithful things we can do is offer forgiveness, especially when it’s undeserved. Just look at how Scripture describes forgiveness in these two passages:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. … Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other … Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:8, 12-13 NIV
We’ve got to deep clean our bitterness, rage, and anger and replace it with compassion, kindness, and humility. Why? Because we’ve been forgiven.
It’s not easy to forgive. But when we follow Jesus, the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead lives in us. And His Spirit is strong enough to help us forgive those who have hurt us, even in the most horrendous ways.
So, when you’re struggling to offer forgiveness or let go of bitterness, consider this question: Do you want to be right, or do you want to be healed?
You can choose to keep holding on to hurt and bitterness, convinced that keeping score keeps you ahead. Or you can choose to forgive anyway, knowing that you’re never more like your Father than when you forgive one of His kids.
This kind of deep work requires humility, honesty, and compassion for both yourself and the other person. And while forgiveness is not a magic solution that will fix all your problems, it does help you fix your eyes on your Father, who is guiding you, helping you, and cheering for you in the process.
Here’s a prayer to help you let go of bitterness:
God, thank You for Your forgiveness through Jesus. I’m really struggling to forgive _______ for _______. But I know that forgiveness means freedom, and I want to be free. Help me completely surrender all bitterness and hurt to You, and help me receive Your kindness, comfort, and compassion. I want to choose to forgive others today and every day. Help me release resentment and choose kindness, trusting You in the whole process. In Jesus’ name, amen.