How would you feel if you spent years of your life running from an enemy only to discover the enemy was you?
Japan formally surrendered to the United States to end World War II on September 2, 1945. But several Japanese soldiers, still manning their posts throughout the Pacific, never got the news. One in particular, Hiroo Onoda, remained staunchly holed up in his jungle stronghold and refused to admit defeat. Efforts to communicate with him were dismissed by Onoda as a hoax. Amazingly, not until 1974, when his former commander was brought in to officially release Onoda from duty, did he realize he had dedicated his life to a war that had ended almost thirty years before.
Bitterness is a lot like that. We harbor anger from pain we’ve suffered and replay the resentment again and again in our mind. But, eventually, we discover our anger doesn’t solve anything from our past. It only damages the relationships we hold dear today.
Bitterness is a misplaced, toxic emotion. It eats away at us, not the person at whom we’re angry.
Our world is broken, and the pain we suffer is real. Trust me, I know. I’ve lived through some pretty dark days myself. But stewing in our anger and allowing bitterness to dominate our lives will only pull us away from God, and it’ll never erase the difficulties we’ve endured.
So do yourself a favor; be willing to work through your pain, and with the Lord’s help, forgive those who have hurt you. Set yourself free from a war that should have been over years ago.
For a daily dose of encouragement and perspective, check out Jim Daly’s blog, Daly Focus, at JimDalyBlog.com.