Bitterness of Soul
By Norma Miller
September 1, 2020
Bitterness and offense, sadly, are words I am well acquainted with. When I hear these words, I have a certain feeling in my belly and memories of a time I am so grateful to have moved beyond.
I well remember the day that I was listening to a speaker who asked if we were aware of the fact that no one can offend us unless we want to be offended.
Say what??! He had my attention immediately. My agreement with what he said came a little later! He explained to us that the things people do and say can cause us pain, but in the first half minute or so, we decide whether we will be offended about it or not. The more I thought on this, the more I realized that it is true. We can, in fact, be very hurt, but choose to immediately take it up with the Lord and to not be offended. Even if we become offended, we can repent and choose to lay aside the offense toward that person. We may still be walking through healing because of what happened and not be in offense. To be offended or not is a simple choice that we make.
Bitterness is what happens as a result of living in offense against someone. The best defense against bitterness is to choose to not be offended. It is a choice we make. In the walking out of woundedness, forgiveness is a daily choice we need to make - and many times a moment by moment choice, especially if we find ourselves in a circumstance where ongoing actions or abuses occur that cause pain.
For years I lived in offense and bitterness of soul against someone who was legitimately causing me pain. This caused me more anguish by far than it did the person. It caused sickness, not only in my soul, but also in my body. Interestingly, as I learned to first make the choice to lay aside bitterness and release that person to God, it seemed to release the Lord to also convict the person!
Forgiveness is not saying the action against you was right, because it wasn’t. It is saying you are choosing to give that person and what they did to the Lord, trusting Him to work it out to benefit both parties involved. I found it very helpful to actually say that to the Lord as I was praying about it.
The Word has much to tell us about bitterness and forgiveness. A very familiar scripture, but very powerful is Ephesians 4:32 - And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
One thing we need to remember is that if we want God to forgive us for Jesus’ sake, then we should also desire that for others. If we are desiring God’s wrath and vengeance to fall on someone, we have not received a revelation of His love or of His ability to work all things out for the good of those who love Him.
If you have lived in bitterness of soul for many years, you may find yourself in a place of feeling unable to let go and move on. If this is you, there is still hope.
In Mark 5:1-20, when Jesus came to the land of the Gadarenes, He was met by a man who was possessed by evil spirits. These spirits begged Jesus to leave and said they were called Legion for “we are many”. Legion is a large group of demons that work together to keep a person bound. This man lived among the tombs. Living among the tombs means we live in dead places of the soul. I remember feeling such deep grief in my soul, with such a broken heart. It was like I was sitting beside an open grave but yet could not bury the dead. I worked through forgiveness for several years but did not receive a full release until I was delivered of the spirit Legion.
You may say, how can a born again, spirit-filled believer have an evil spirit? We can’t have an evil spirit in our spirits because when we are born again, our spirits are instantly healed, whole, and set free. However, our souls and our bodies are still in various stages of healing and sanctification as long as we live on this earth, so demons can absolutely affect and even live in our souls. When I was delivered of this spirit, my heart and my mind entered into a new rest that I had never known before! I was riding along in a vehicle with my husband and I told him that my mind felt so empty and free! I then asked the Holy Spirit of God to fill those empty places with His love because I don’t want to leave any room for the enemy of my soul!
There should be no place in the bride of Christ for bitterness and offense because we have experienced the love and forgiveness of God. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a lost and dying world which desperately needs to experience the healing love of God. If we do not offer forgiveness to each other, how can we represent the love of God to the world? I believe this is a season in which we must get very serious about letting go of every weight which entangles and holds us back. There is no situation too difficult for Jesus to turn around in our lives, so we should rush to give each situation that we face into His loving and capable hands!
I bless each of you as you reach out to Jesus to allow Him to heal and restore every painful wound in your life!
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