When you're convinced life hasn't been fair to you, avoiding bitterness is doubly hard.
As singles, we may feel that God has shortchanged us by not providing a spouse. If we focus on that thought, we will soon spiral down into the pit of resentment, and that's a steep hole to climb out of.
Do you see every hardship as a personal affront? Do you believe that life owes you something better and that other people--or God--is to blame for the bad things that have happened to you? That's an easy, and dangerous path to take.
But it's not the path you want to take. You want to break free and get on with a happy life. When you're ready to do that, you have to make a choice.
Today's society encourages people to think of themselves as victims. The implication is that we're not responsible for anything that happens to us. And in many cases--such as crime, disability, or discrimination--we aren't responsible.
But the net has been widened to include almost everyone. When we expect the government or possessions or medications to solve all our problems, we're setting ourselves up for further pain. They're not the answer.
Becoming a "professional victim" is an exhausting job. Bad things happen to all of us. We can either wallow in our victimhood, or we can shake it off and work to make the best of our life.
My Dad stepped on a German land mine during World War II and through the grace of God, he survived. However, he was a very wise man. He realized that avoiding bitterness about his disability was the only way he could make a happy life for himself. That's exactly what he did.
Instead of being a lifelong victim, he became a lifelong victor. And because he accepted Christ, he is now an eternal victor.
Avoiding bitterness opens your heart for happiness. It changes your mindset to see the good instead of the bad.
Unfortunately, there are some benefits to being bitter--if you can call them benefits. You get a lot of sympathy. People may pamper you because life has been unfair to you. You get a lot of attention because you've been mistreated.
All of us have a tendency to like attention. But this is not a
positive, growth-oriented kind of attention. Rather, it chains us to
our past so we can't enjoy our present or feel optimistic about our
We don't want to "get over it" because we demand justice. We think God should make some sort of compensation for the way we've been treated.
You know what? He will. But it will be in the next life.
I don't believe that avoiding bitterness is humanly possible. But that's okay, because it is possible with the help of God.
Some of life's battles are too big to win on our own. We can only be victorious when we ask God to fight for us. The good news is that God is all-powerful.
You have to want to move on. God can't force you to make that decision, but once you do, he'll give you all the help you need to do it.
Defeating bitterness is a daily battle that will go on for the rest of your life. There's always the opportunity to slip back. New bad things keep happening. You may have believed all your life that you're just a bad luck person.
Avoiding bitterness is the only way you can live the life God wants you to live.
There's an old saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That's what happens with bitterness.
Has life started to treat you fair because you demand that it must? Has all your anger and frustration changed anything, other than to make you even more bitter?
It's time to try something different to get different results. Bitterness doesn't work. It's like having a rock in your shoe and complaining how much it hurts and how wrong it is to have a rock in your shoe when no one else does.
Try something different, like stopping and taking the rock out of your shoe! The rock is your own bitterness. That's what's ruining your journey.
You can only change your attitude and turn things around with God's help. Ask him to help you start focusing on all the positive things in your life instead of the negative.
Trust him for your justice, even if it has to happen in the next life. Give imperfect people a break. Realize that their goal in life isn't to make you miserable, even if that's how it has seemed. Don't let yourself be a doormat, but on the other hand, don't see every unintentional slight as an act of betrayal.
You want to live large. You want a joy-filled, enthusiastic, exciting life. You want to experience God's love, the love of other people, and the satisfaction that we're doing something worthwhile.
Can you see how avoiding bitterness is necessary to do all that? You can become bigger than bitterness.
We singles need to watch out for ourselves so people don't take advantage of us, but we don't need to be paranoid about it and think that everybody is out to get us. In the end, the only thing you can control is your attitude.
When something unpleasant happens, you can treat yourself to an hour or a day or even a week's outrage about it, but then drop it and move on.
Together, you and God can do this. I know because he and I have done it many times, following relationship breakups, job layoffs, rejection, and even cancer. If I can do it, then you can too.
Avoiding bitterness is one of the wisest decisions you'll ever make. It's the only way to find the happiness you so desperately want.