Wow. This came in my inbox this a.m. as a devo I often get from fellow prison ministers. My next post this morning will be on a prison/prisoner issue… so very pertinent from either end of the spectrum, and certainly re. your and my life in terms of relationships. Here I only added the actual verses to the text though the references were in the original.
31. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander, be put away from you, with all malice.
32. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.
”Picture a miserable, depressed, and emotionally broken person hunched over a chemistry set. His eyes are narrow. His lips are pursed. His fingers are methodically adding just a pinch of this and a dash of that to the acrid green fluid in the test tube before him. His thoughts are a hodgepodge of outdated images, his heart a stale mosaic of hatred for a grievance long past. He is thinking of the one who hurt him, and he is busy concocting a poison for the offender.
It sounds like an excerpt from an old movie, doesn’t it? However, here is where the scene changes direction. Envision that same obsessed scientist breathing a sigh of relief as he straightens up, marveling at the liquid vengeance he has created. Then he utters, “This will show him!”—and drinks the poison himself.
That’s a surprising twist—one that we would not expect in a movie. Yet there is a good chance you have done this very thing at one time or another.
Bitterness is a toxin that we prepare for someone else but then drink ourselves. It is a concentrated dose of emotional poison, often one that we carefully nurture and grow over the course of years. When we react to someone’s wrongdoing by withdrawing and giving free reign to daydreams of retribution and ill will, we are slowly poisoning our own hearts and mindAsk God to reveal any signs of poison in your system. Then ask Him to help you administer a dose of the antidote: forgiveness.” -Dr. Charles Stanley