Is there a way to tell the difference between being genuinely hurt and disappointed in the way you have been treated and being bitter about it?
When God commands us not to become bitter He is not commanding us to stop feeling pain when someone mistreats us or to start lying about what has really happened to us and pretending that what was really awful was something it wasn’t.
But He is warning us about something.
When we have been hurt by others, bitterness is a very real problem, it is a sin that He commands us to put off, and it is a great danger to ourselves and to others.
We have to be able to tell the difference between being hurt and being bitter.
How? Here are some suggestions:
1.) Are you are concerned most about the cause of Christ or the cause of you?
2.) Do the thoughts you are thinking reflect the fact you believe God is for you and that He is working to accomplish this situation for your good?
3.) Do you desire the repentance of the person who has hurt you or mostly just that they would get theirs?
4.) Are your thoughts revolving around the horror of sin or what the person did to you and how terrible it was that they did it to you?
5.) If the person repents, would you be willing to work towards the reconciliation of the relationship?
1.) Beware of repetitive thoughts about all the different ways the person has wronged you.
2.) Listen to yourself speak. Are you continually speaking about the other person or the situation? Has what happened become the centerpiece of your conversations? Are you looking for opportunities to make the other person look bad? Are you gossiping about them with others? Can you think of any reason to be thankful? Are you speaking as if God were the one in ultimate control?
3.) Look at the way you are praying about the situation. Is there a desire for the other person to be restored? Is there a longing for their spiritual growth?
We don’t really have the right to go around telling other people that they are bitter. How can we see into someone’s heart? Once you start doing that, you are acting like you have the knowledge of God and can do what only He can do. But we certainly do need to evaluate our own hearts as to whether we are bitter or just plain hurt. The difference is significant, because wounds heal whereas bitterness only gets worse and worse.