The Abundant Life: Riches money can’t buy…
Those living the abundant life strive to be better, not become bitter.
When we think we’ve been wronged or treated unfairly, we can become resentful, which is defined as bitter indignation. The Bible has nothing good to say about being bitter and resentful. In fact, it says be careful not to let a root of bitterness spring up and cause trouble. (Hebrews 12:15) If it does spring up, we are instructed to put it away. (Ephesians 4:31)
Here’s one way it can start. We get deeply hurt. We feel injured or offended. We justify these feelings. We think we have a right to feel this way. Then the people who did these awful things to us do not react the way we think they should. They don’t apologize. They don’t grovel. They may even ignore us. We say things to ourselves like, “If only they would acknowledge what they did to me, I could let go of this bitterness.” But they don’t acknowledge it. Maybe they don’t even care!
So we decide to turn it over to God. After all, God tells us not to take revenge, because vengeance is His. (Romans 12:19) We’ll leave their punishment in God’s hands. They better watch out because now they are going to really get it. But what happens? God doesn’t punish them the way we think He should. They may even prosper. Maybe God won’t punish them at all. We feel like God has really botched this, because we want them to suffer the way they made us suffer.
What are we supposed to do for those no good, lousy rats who wrong us? Well…we are supposed to do the right thing, even when they don’t. God says not to repay evil with evil. (Romans 12:17) We are to pray for our enemies. We are to bless our enemies. (Matthew 5:44) We are to forgive our enemies, even when they don’t ask for forgiveness or acknowledge what they’ve done. Forgiveness does not mean letting others continue to hurt us. It just means we surrender our right to get even or retaliate.
We are to let go of bitterness and resentment because no good can come from it. It breeds anger and discontent, which will not enhance our spiritual growth or journey. Resentful and bitter feelings do not hurt the other guy as much as they hurt us. Nelson Mandela put it this way: “Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies.”
Those living the abundant life have learned not to nurse a grudge, because it will only get bitter, not better. And it’s far better to trust God to handle it in His time and in His way!
“…I have come that they may have life and that they
may have it more abundantly.” ~John 10:10 (KJV)