The secret sign of bitterness

I get annoyed at most things that breath. It’s a part of my personality, and I absolutely hate it. Overly “chipper” people drive me crazy. Teenage girls wearing Calvin Klein or Pink annoy me. When people make puns or over used jokes, I sit there with a grim look on my face while everyone else offers a sympathy laugh. Sometimes I eat lunch alone, because I like to have my peace and quiet. There are days when I can’t even stand the people who walk by my office and say “good morning”. Aren’t I a prude? I am the embodiment of a 70 year old man yelling “get off of my lawn” to sweet children. If this sounds familiar, then this article is for you.

Why do I get like this, and what causes me to have such a cold attitude towards people? The answer I have come up with is this: because I’m jealous. I am jealous of the people who are happy and loud, because I want to be happy and loud. I envy the girls who wear expensive clothes and have flawless lives, because I want a flawless life too. The thing is, I have scars that are very deep. The heart does this funny thing where it hardens itself so that it won’t get hurt again. It’s just like the 70 year old man who yells at children on his lawn. We think it’s because he’s just plain mean. But we fail to examine why this man is so mean. There is most likely a deep rooted issue that manifested itself into anger and bitterness, causing him to lash out at all that is good and kind. I see that in my own life very often.

Another story worth sharing is one of my best friends, Hannah. Hannah is a very loving and warm person. She is no stranger joy. Her arms are always open and inviting. However, there was a time that I would get annoyed at her constant embraces and kind words. It would annoy me so much that I would become angry with her. It’s because I compared myself with her wonderful life. Seeing how “put-together” she is made me realize how messy I am. She is like perfectly painted portrait, whereas I am a kindergartner’s stick figure.

So, if you are anything like me, you are a broken person around picture-perfect people.

When God revealed the bitterness I was harboring as hostage in heart, I immediately repented. Then I was lead to Ephesians 4:30-32, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” This is a very straightforward verse, but I did not realize the depth and weight that it carries until I realized how hardened my heart was. I was grieving the very Spirit of God. It makes my stomach turn just thinking about how I hindered the Spirit out of my own blindness. Praise God for his patience that led me to repentance.

So, where do I go from here? I’m going to start by praying for a soft heart. It’s time to change this angry old man’s heart into a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 11:19, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh”