At some point, everyone gets victimized. While a victim is not to blame, they must take responsibility for their own healing. If not, a root of bitterness can spring up. Hebrews 12:15 (NLT) offers this warning, “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” If bitterness has already taken root, is there any hope? Yes! It’s not too late to dig these dangerous roots out!
- Identify the Wound That Planted the Bitterness.
Bitterness can develop from hurt or a wound that has never healed. Look inside to determine what damage may be causing resentment toward someone or something.
- Work on the Right Side of the Fence.
Romans 12:18 says, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” If possible (and safe), the offended should try to reconcile with their offender. If their effort is rejected or rebuffed, then they should release themselves from their response. The person offended can only be responsible for their actions; so, they are not responsible for the person who offended them.
- Consider the Other Person’s Bitterness.
The wounded person should look at the person who hurt them and think about what might have caused them to act the way they did—they may have some deep hurt or pain that is unresolved. Not that it justifies what they did, but a little empathy can go a long way to breaking up the hard soil around the bitter roots.
- Give up Seeking an Apology or Restitution.
A victim may never get the apology, restitution, compensation, or restoration that they have been longing for, so they must let it go. Giving up that expectation can free a person by loosening the soil and pulling out the bitter roots.
- Change the Landscape.
Suppose a person has done everything to work out a difficult, painful situation or an ongoing relationship. In that case, the person may need to take a bold step to distance themselves from that problematic person or situation. They may need to end a relationship, set up boundaries, find a new job, or move to a different community to get away from ongoing abuse. 6. Give It to God. Remember that God says, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back” (Deuteronomy 32:35). Give the offender over to God; they will have to answer to God, anyway. Decide to forgive them and let it go. Because if a person does not forgive, the bitterness will eat them up, poison their other relationships, and rob them of peace and joy.
by Dr. Sheri Keffer