Tuesday, March 20
With Papi safely tucked away in the movie theater, Elise retreated to his room to finish her assignment for tonight’s class. Lucy was showing Fail-Safe today, another one of his favorites; she would never understand the male taste in cinema, but she was grateful to have some peace and quiet. His room was as silent as a tomb even when CNAs were laughing and carrying on right outside the door.
After weeks of intense work, she’d finally finished her website’s main pages a few days ago, including her summaries of the gospel and the evidence for the Bible’s divine inspiration and inerrancy. Now at last she was free to get back to her advice column, and to share Papi’s most excellent guidance on an important topic.
She fired up her laptop, headed straight to her “Advice for the Life-Worn” page, and started typing.
Can you help me get past my bitterness? It seems like the most important people in my life have betrayed me. Yes, I am loved by, and love, my grandparents who raised me, but my mother abandoned me as a baby, and my boyfriends have used me. I just don’t seem to be able to quit thinking bad things about them. I actually lose sleep over it.
I know I’m not alone in this. I have seen what it does to people over time, and I don’t want to go there. Help!
Was that too close for comfort? She didn’t think so, but just in case, she changed “grandparents” to “aunt and uncle” and “boyfriends” to “friends” before starting in on her response.
I am so glad you wrote. Bitterness is indeed poison, to us and to those around us, and the Bible instructs us to watch for it and rid ourselves of it just as earnestly as we do wrath and anger and evil speech.
How is the question, isn’t it?
Seeing this very problem in my own heart not long ago, a wise old man told me exactly how to deal with it. He advised me to pray for the Lord to rid me of the root of bitterness, and to pray for those who have, in my estimation, been cruel to me. He advised me, in particular, to pray for their salvation, I suppose because it would remind me of what they are facing for all eternity if they don’t repent; and if we have any compassion at all, we would never wish eternal hell on even our worst enemies, would we?
If we are faithful to pray this way for these people, we will see our hearts softening towards them. And as this old man said to me, “the root of bitterness will die. It needs a hardened heart to thrive.”
And you know what? It works, especially when you take your concordance and spend some time meditating on the passages that talk about bitterness. And it is so liberating—I will be forever grateful to the one who gave me this advice, helping me to see beyond my stubborn anger all the way to eternity.
Not bad, she thought as she read it over. Straightforward and easy to follow.
She wondered if Ms. Slocum would gain anything from this letter. From the things she’d said to her class here and there, especially about co-workers and clients, Sandra struck her as a singularly bitter person herself.
She saved the post and spent some time tweaking her home page before heading out to fetch Papi.
The Song of Sadie Sparrow, pages 196-198