Updated: Jan 12
A woman reached out to me with a picture of her battered and mangled eye. She had been abused by her husband, and she blamed the church for many reasons. No doubt that her pain both physical and mental – gave her many reasons to be bitter. As horrendous as it appeared to be, my hope for her was that she wouldn’t remain in blame and bitterness.
Blame keeps you focused on holding someone else responsible for your past and keeps you from focused attention to creating your future. Bitterness holds on to deep anger, is ready to take offense, and will explode at any given moment. Gregory Popcak says that “bitterness is unforgiveness fermented.” Bitterness breeds intense hostility, cynicism, and destroys to the core like a sharp arrow to the heart. Hanging on to the blame and bitterness only allows that other person or situation to continue to destroy you further even in their absence. According to the Mayo Clinic, bitterness will keep you from healthier relationships, produce anxiety, stress, hostility, decline your mental health, weaken your immune system, increase blood pressure and heart issues. Do you really want to remain in blame and bitterness the rest of your life and create more pain for yourself? Would you like to be free?
One of the most difficult transitions that you will make in life is to stop blaming and let go of the bitterness that holds you back from freedom, love, and a path to a fulfilling life. I have been hurt by people inside and outside of the church. There are evil people everywhere and we are humans with a choice on how we live, how we will respond, and how we should move forward with our lives. We have a choice on how we allow people to treat us – we can remain or walk away. We can choose to obtain help via counseling, education, and the power of God. We can choose to seek a new career path or choose where we live. We can choose what friends will remain in our lives and who will go. We are given the freedom to do with whatever is in our hands.
You have the choice to overcome and do something productive that makes a difference in your world like so many others who have gone before you such as:
· Victor Frankl – was imprisoned at several Nazi concentration camps. His wife and family were killed, but he survived. Victor went on to write one of the ten most influential books in the U.S. which sold over 10 million copies and translated into 24 languages at the time of his death.
· Mark Zupan – became a quadriplegic from an accident involving a drunk driver. He became a Gold Paralympic Medalist in wheelchair rugby and an actor for the Oscar-nominated movie Murderball.
· Franklin Roosevelt – paralyzed from the waist down by polio and became President of the United States.
· Tyler Perry – suffered physical and sexual abuse in his childhood who became an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and one of the highest-paid men in entertainment.
You do not have to look far to find countless others who have gone through extreme adversity who, thankfully, did not allow bitterness to keep them from sharing their gifts with the world. Those who succeed rarely speak of their trauma or their daily struggles but utilize their abilities to create opportunities to change the world in which they live and make it a better place. The time has come to leave all bitterness and wrath behind, place that person or situation in God’s hands who will take care of it far better than you could do and start stepping out – one foot in front of the other - into the freedom to do great things!
Developing Exceptional Leaders