How do I keep a root of bitterness from taking hold? I'm asking because the one thing I do NOT want to become is a bitter, angry old woman.
I've had very real struggles with anger lately at some personal injustices.
I've had knots in my stomach over the issue.
In the meantime, many Bible verses come to mind, specifically those which say to be angry and not sin, that a joyful heart is good like a medicine, but brokenness dries up the bones; that a foolish man is soon angry.
Jesus and Proverbs had things to say about anger and bitterness, and how those emotions, unchecked, will rot our very being. Not just metaphorically, I mean literally rot our bodies.
A mind poisoned with hatred and bitterness will naturally poison everything around it, starting with the flesh in which it resides.
So how do I keep from becoming a bitter, angry old woman? I want to be like my mom, Grandma, and my great aunts, who choose (or chose for my dear, late Aunt Georgia Lee) to live in joy.
Their lives aren't easy. They've all faced hard work and hard times. They know the exhausting work of being the primary caregiver to an invalid.
Yet these ladies' characters are not known for complaints or bitterness.
They have chosen the better path of joy.
We all become very good at what we practice. Practice bitterness, become a nasty, miserable old person. Practice joy, become a vibrant, happy old person.
Trials, sadness, hardships, and griefs come to everybody. That's just part of life.
How we deal with those is where we can become bitter or better.
So, for my own personal anger struggle right now, I'm recalling and reciting Scripture as often as needed, even if it's hundreds of times a day.
I'm consciously releasing the bitterness I naturally feel as a prayer to the Lord for this person.
Please understand this is not the same as being naive enough to think all's well with this person. (Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.)
But I only hurt myself to carry around bitterness in this situation. (Just a minute: I reread that sentence and realized I can hurt plenty more people around me with my own bitterness. I definitely don't want to do that!)
With God's help, I'm going to dispel the bitterness and replace it with joy that is fueled by thankfulness.