One of our most important responsibilities is to keep our heart pure and free from bitterness. Proverbs says, “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” It’s easy to let what’s on the outside get on the inside. It takes discipline to say, “I’m not going to dwell on that offense. I’m not going to feel sorry for myself because something didn’t work out.” Maybe you need to forgive somebody, or maybe you’re still sour about a dream that didn’t work out, or maybe you’re still beating yourself up over a mistake you made. You only have so much emotional energy each day. It’s not an unlimited supply. Do you know how much energy it takes to hold a grudge, to go around offended? That’s wasting valuable energy that you need for your dreams, for your children, and for your destiny. Quit letting what’s on the outside get on the inside; start guarding your heart.
The apostle Paul had many opportunities to live offended. He said in his last letter to Timothy, “Alexander the coppersmith did me great wrongs, but that is no concern of mine. I know God will pay him back.” That’s a mature attitude. “Somebody did me great wrong, but I’m not upset, and I won’t let bitterness in or carry a chip on my shoulder. I know God is fighting my battles. I know God will be my vindicator.”
I know people who are still bitter over something that happened thirty years ago. They’re bitter because they were mistreated growing up or because a relationship didn’t work out. You have to let it go. God sees what’s happening to you. He knows what wasn’t fair, He knows who walked away, and He knows how to make it up to you. He knows how to bring you out better. Let it go and trust Him to be your vindicator. The longer you hold on to it, the harder it is to get rid of it. The more you dwell on it, the more you relive it, the more you let it bother you, the deeper it gets rooted in you. The key is to forgive quickly. When you feel the bitterness trying to take root, right then say, “God, I’m turning this over to You. I know that You are my vindicator. I know that You’ll make my wrongs right. You said You would give me beauty for these ashes.”
Life is too short for you to live offended, not forgiving, bitter over what didn’t work out. You have to guard your heart.