Some of you might read the above title, and think – is this post going to be about radishes or rutabagas?
Sorry to disappoint, but I actually like those particular vegetables, so I’m going to move on to something that’s horrible and degenerative to all of us. I’m talking about the root of bitterness, anger, unforgiveness or deadness in your heart towards someone – do any of you struggle with those?
It’s hard when you get hurt, or when you see someone you love trapped and unable to break free from abuse they’ve suffered and are in a prison of despair.
Back in earlier posts about my mother (Trying to “Save” Mom, What’s Being Taught In Our Churches?) I’ve written about some of the struggles my sister and I went through once we became lovers of Jesus, and how our hearts were broken repeatedly by mother because her heart was so cold and frozen towards God.
One time in particular that shocked and saddened my sister and I deeply was when all our kids were out of school for Christmas break and we decided to take mother to this large shopping mall to spend the day.
After walking through a few stores, we decided to head to the food court to have lunch.
We got there early enough where we were able to snag a couple of tables together (there were 8 of us!), and then we all went and grabbed what we wanted to eat.
Of course after the kids were done they wanted to go look through K-B Toys, so my sister put her 2 older girls in charge, and they went over there while my sister and I sat with mother to chat for a few minutes.
Then it happened…
Since we now had 2 extra open tables by us, an Asian woman who spoke broken English came up and asked to sit at one of the tables to eat her lunch.
We certainly knew the kids weren’t going to be back any time soon, but all of a sudden we noticed mother’s face had changed – and not in a good way.
She turned to the Asian woman and very nastily told the woman that no, she could NOT take one of the tables. To make it even worse, she started raising her voice, and then started “shooing” her away with her hand, telling her to go away!
I was livid and started losing my temper, but mother paid me no attention – her face was as hard as stone. My sister and I were appalled at how rude our own mother had just been to another individual, but it got even worse when a short time later a white couple came by asking to use one of the tables, and mother graciously let them!
My sister and I were so humiliated, and we didn’t dare look around to see if the Asian woman had seen what had just happened. We got up and left soon after.
So where did this all come from? We believe it was back from World War II.
Our dad had fought in that war, and I remember when I was little waking up in the middle of the night to sometimes hear him scream in terror. My sister and I were told later by our uncle that he had gotten separated from his patrol at one point and had ended up on his own for a whole week trying to stay alive before he was finally reunited with his squadron.
Dad never talked about it with my sister and I, but I know he and mother had discussed it because we had witnessed them making remarks about the “Japs” on previous occasions, and not in a good way.
Roots of anger and unforgiveness. That war was back in the early 1940’s, but unfortunately mother was still hanging on to her hatred and she was now in her 80’s, and the year was 2000…
Bitterness – it can poison you and eat you up. But we don’t have to let it. Galatians 3:28 says there is to be no distinction between Jew nor Greek, slave nor free (or as we’re just getting done with a nasty election year – Republican or Democrat!). Not one of us on this earth is any better than the other person. We are all precious in God’s sight!
Personally I allow myself to get hurt far too easily, and even though I’ve now been a Christ-follower for 20+ years I still find myself starting to wallow in despair or anger when someone hurts my feelings. Yet I’m learning to fix my eyes on Jesus during these times (Hebrews 12:2) because only through Him can I forgive and walk in freedom.
Please don’t let the root of bitterness become ingrained in your life…