“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold... Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. — Ephesians 4:26–27, 31
I was sitting in the sand watching the salty water inch closer and closer. The tide was coming in, and I knew if I didn’t move, the water would soon wash over me and my stuff. The beauty of the ocean comes with the reality of the tide.
Many things in life come as a package deal like this. When we choose to participate with part of it, we participate with all of it. Relationships are this way. Jobs are this way. Owning a home is this way. Even vacations are this way.
All these things are package deals — they come with fun parts and hard parts. And sin is no different.
- Whatever seems enticing about the sin will always come with the consequences of that sin.
When other people sin against us, intentionally wrong us, and blatantly hurt us but never seem to have consequences for any of it, this apparent lack of fairness is what stirs up feelings of bitterness, unforgiveness, and even retaliation. But it’s crucial that we don’t let these feelings that come at us get inside of us.
The truth that helps me manage the “unfairness” of hurtful situations is remembering that when people sin against us, they unleash into their lives the consequences of that sin. We may never see it. In fact, it may look like they just got away with everything. But today we can be reminded that eventually
they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. — Proverbs 1:31
- The best thing we can do is trust God with their consequences while making sure we don’t get lured into sinful choices resulting from our own bitterness and unforgiveness.
Friend, your heart is much too beautiful of a place to be tainted by hurt, haunted by resentment, or held back by bitterness. It’s time to stop suffering because of what another person has done to you. And maybe holding firmly to this perspective is just one of the many ways God wants to help us heal today.
A statement to remember as I walk into today:
Your heart is much too beautiful of a place to be tainted by hurt, haunted by resentment, or held back by bitterness.
Many times throughout the Bible where there is a warning about unforgiveness, there is also a warning about the schemes and temptations of the Enemy. In 2 Corinthians 2:10–11, the apostle Paul stated,
I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
Then in Ephesians 4:26–27, Paul wrote,
'In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Paul continued this thought in verse 31 with his instructions to
get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
When we feel bitterness, we must call it what it really is. It’s not something that protects us from not getting hurt again. It’s not something that hurts the person who hurt us. It is the very place where the Enemy can lure us into his schemes and where we can be so very tempted to sin.
Oh, friend. Never forget your position of strength isn’t anger, bitterness, or retaliation. It’s humility.
When we are humble, it doesn’t mean we are bowing down in defeat. It means we are rising up to declare that no one has the power to make us betray who we really are in Christ. We can stand up for what is right, have hard conversations, and even confront things that need to be addressed in equal measures of grace and truth — and we can do all this without losing the best of who we are in the process.
Tonight, let’s release those feelings of anger by acknowledging to God that when we feel hurt, it doesn’t mean we have to live lives that perpetuate that hurt. We may need to work through those feelings, but we do not need to let our lives be hijacked by those feelings.
SOMETHING TO RELEASE BACK TO GOD FROM TODAY:
(Write down your “something to release” in your journal.)
A PRAYER TO RECEIVE BEFORE TOMORROW:
Father God, today I bring my difficult relationship situations to You. I know You see me struggle and have not left me to figure this out on my own. When unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, and judgment rise up in my heart, please help me process those feelings in a healthy way. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Excerpted with permission from You’re Going to Make It by Lysa TerKeurst, copyright Lysa TerKeurst.
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When it seems like the person or people who hurt you are getting away with it, it can get really hard not to be bitter, angry, resentful, and unforgiving. That’s why God commands us to forgive. It’s not easy, and we might have to go at it again and again, but our hearts are too important to be embittered. Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full