One of the many things that I struggle with in this life is bitterness.  I am not proud to admit that, but it is true.  I am sure if you are like me, and I have a sneaky suspicion that you are, you struggle with bitterness too.  What we are bitter about really doesn’t matter much; it is the cause of the bitterness that matters.  Not having a forgiving spirit and wanting to be in control of everything causes bitterness. 

Imagine if you had never eaten a lemon before, just looking at the lemon and knowing that it is a fruit; you think it will be sweet.  Even when you smell it, you are not completely aware of its bitterness.  You cut the lemon and take a huge bite.  When you do, your face contorts to a very unpleasant likeness of your former self and you spit it out.  Your taste buds cannot stand the bitterness, and you have to reject it.  If we begin to have a steady diet of lemons, we become accustom to the bitterness.  Our face may contort upon the first bite, but our taste buds begin to get used to the taste and we no longer want to spit the lemon out.  Our taste buds are becoming hardened to the taste of the lemon and are beginning to believe that it is an acceptable taste.  

Bitterness in our lives is very much like eating a lemon.  The bitterness in our lives can contort our faces and make us have a terrible frown. In the beginning of bitterness we may want to reject our feelings, but after a while we become used to the bitterness, and we think that it is completely acceptable to feel the way we do.  We often get to the point where we like the bitterness.  Over time, though, the acid and hate in the bitterness begins to affect every part of our lives.  We walk around with a terrible attitude and the acid from the bitterness we are feeling changes everything.  We no longer see the beauty in the world, and we have no peace in our lives.  It affects our relationships with the people we love, and it causes us to turn inward.

You may be thinking, “How do I get rid of the bitterness in my life?”  The only way to really get rid of bitterness is to forgive.  We all have had things happen to us that are unfair, and we have all been hurt very deeply by someone, but we have to forgive the wrong, even if we are not able to tell the person that we forgive them personally. Many times that is impossible or it would place us in a situation that is not safe.  We can forgive someone even without speaking to him or her.  

Another way to eliminate bitterness is to realize that we cannot control other people.  I believe that if everyone would accept this simple fact and live it, the world would be a much better place.  I cannot make you do something, and you cannot make me do something.  If we try, we will more than likely fail, which may lead to bitterness.  The only thing we can really control in this life is ourselves, and I don’t know about you, but that is a full time job for me.  If we are controlling ourselves and living the best life we can live, we will not have time or the desire to try to control someone else.  

The old saying, “Live and let live” really does apply.  We have to just accept the fact that things are going to happen in life that we do not like or agree with.  Bad things are going to happen to us and to the people we love.  We have to let go of the need to control things and forgive the wrongs that are done to us.  Unchecked bitterness will make us hard, and while we think that in order to survive this world we have to be hard, that is not what God wants for our lives.  A hard heart cannot do any good for anyone.  We should have a soft heart that is ready to forgive and move on.  Now, I am not saying that we are supposed to be wimps. What I am saying is that we have to forgive and love to move on.  We have mistakenly thought that hardness means we are strong.  Really, when you think about it, having the ability to love and forgive is far stronger, and it has the power to change the world.  Plus, I don’t know about you, but at my age the last thing I need to do is walk around with a contorted face. = ) Letting go of bitterness will bring us peace, and PEACE MATTERS.