Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Christians are often involved in a warfare within themselves due to being hurt, betrayed, or offended by others. Salvation doesn’t remove us from exposure to these things and having to work through them to victory. We are told to let all bitterness and resentment go for it is only a poison that prolongs one’s hurt, clouds the mind, steals joy, wastes time and drains energy Ephesians 4:31, 32. This is, of course, always easier said than done, often because of the overwhelming emotional fog that can enter in.
Sometimes in the midst of this emotional warfare a “fog of war” can enter in. The fog of war is often used to describe the uncertainty, confusion, and chaos inherent in war or battle. Disastrous judgments in war are often attributed to this fog of war. Military forces try to reduce the fog of war through military intelligence so they can get a bigger and better picture of what is going on. The same can hold true in emotional warfare and without some spiritual intelligence of what is going on we can yield to bitterness and resentment rather than resist it. I have found this checklist helpful to lift the fog of emotional warfare related to bitterness and resentment so it can be resisted and released:
- YOU RE-FEEL IT – It is internal; it is emotional; you do it to yourself.
- IT IS SECRETIVE – No one knows but you because it is harbored or held within.
- IT TURNS AN EXPERIENCE OR EVENT INTO SELF-PITY – The event is stored in feeling sorry for yourself.
- IT LODGES INSIDE YOU AS A GRUDGE – “You owe me”—a debt and a debtor.
- IT SETS UP A BOND OR BINDING TO THE PERSON OR EVENT OF THE PAST.
- We do not change the past by resenting it, we only ruin the future.
- Resentment can never change what happened it can only change you.
- IT BECOMES A ROOT OF BITTERNESS SHUTTING YOU UP IN A SPIRITUAL PRISON – Torment is always its fruit Matthew 18:32-34.
- ITS ROOTS CAUSE OTHER BEHAVIORS TO SPRING UP Hebrews 12:15 – Murmur/complain; pout/sulk; stubbornness; touchy; mood extremes; lack of concern for others; ingratitude; avoidance/withdrawal.
- IT CAN LEAD TO ABANDONING WHAT ONE HAS BELIEVED Deuteronomy 29:18 – The Bible calls it apostasy which is an abandoning of what one has once believed as a faith, cause, or principle.
Thank God we can ask for wisdom to get a bigger picture of what is going on (James 1:5). Thank God we have the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit our Comforter, to lead us into all truth and help us.