Have you ever had a friend that was bitter? A friend that is still talking about the person that betrayed them years ago. Or maybe a family member who is still talking about their divorce. Perhaps you know someone who is going to bring up her ex within fifteen minutes of any and every conversation.
If you look closely at these individuals, you will notice they have a long list of hurts and disappointments. In fact, for many their friendships are short lived, they keep changing jobs, and their closest family members seem to be as bitter as they are. How does this happened? It starts at the heart level.
Bitterness is a heart condition. Your heart’s condition not only affects you, it affects everything and everyone around you too.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23
Other translations express your heart determines the “borders” of your life. Just how far will your life go? Well, it depends on your heart. How healthy will your relationships be? Depends on your heart. What kind of influence will you have on your children and the people you love? Depends on your heart.
Not everyone hurting is bitter.
Perhaps you’ve had a chance to know someone who seems to be doing well even though they have known tragedies in their life. Perhaps they have lost someone, maybe they have had a huge setback in their career, or a debilitating illness, and yet they remain positive. What’s their secret?
The new testament says it like this.
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2
The truth is your life is going to be about as good as your soul. A healthy heart, a healthy soul will have good relationships and a good life in spite of trouble. A heart sickened by bitterness will make everything in life bitter. We see this in people all around us.
If you want a good life, put into place these habits to make sure you have a healthy heart.
1. Forgive. Jesus said unforgiveness brings torment and forgiveness brings freedom. I guarantee if you hold onto grudges, they will torment and spoil your life.
2. Get mercy. Guilt is like an infection. A proud person thinks they don’t need mercy, but if you spend some time contemplating your life, you’ll see that everyone needs mercy.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9
People have joy because they have received mercy and live in it.
3. Humble yourself. Humility brings favor from God and from people. People naturally avoid arrogant people, but humility draws others to you.
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 1 Peter 5:6