Don’t Give Up: Refuse to Be Bitter
By Rick Warren
“I came naked from my mother’s womb,’ [Job] said, ‘and I shall have nothing when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had, and they were his to take away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all of this Job did not sin or revile God” (Job 1:21-22 TLB).
Grief is a part of life, but you can’t let a season of grief turn into a lifestyle of grief.
At some point you have to let it go!
There is a difference between mourning and moaning, between weeping and wallowing. A loss can deepen me, but that doesn’t mean it can define me. A loss is a part of my maturity but not my identity.
God gives you grace to get through what you’re going through. Other people may not have that same measure of grace, so they might give you bad advice!
“[Job’s] wife said to him, ‘Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.’ But Job replied, ‘You talk like a godless woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ So in all this, Job said nothing wrong” (Job 2:9-10 NLT).
Job refused to become bitter and resentful. Bitterness prolongs pain. It doesn’t relieve it; it only reinforces it. “Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you . . . it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives” (Hebrews 12:15 TLB).
Job gives three steps in refocusing:
1. Put your heart right. That means you forgive. “But I can’t forgive!” you say. That’s why you need Christ in your life; he’ll give you the power to forgive.
2. Reach out to God. Ask him to come into your heart and heal those wounds and help you and give you strength and power for tomorrow, next week, next month.
3. Face the world again, firm and courageous. Many people, when they’re hurt, withdraw into a shell. They say, “I’ll never let anybody hurt me again!” They retire from life. Job says to do the exact opposite: Resume your life; don’t retire from it. Get back out there in the world.
There’s a happy ending to Job’s life. “The Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life even more than he had blessed the first” (Job 42:12 GNT). Job went through all this hurt, but in spite of that, God blessed the last part of Job’s life even more than the first.
Wouldn’t you like the same in your life? Say, “God, I don’t care whether I have five years or 50 years left. Would you bless the last part of my life more than the first part?”
The lesson of Job’s life is this: It doesn’t matter who’s hurt you or how long you’ve been hurt or how deeply you’ve been hurt. God can make the rest of your life the best of your life if you’re willing to forgive and let go of resentment and release the offender.
Talk About It
In grief, why is it easier to draw into ourselves rather than be with people who will help us move forward?
How have you experienced or observed the debilitating effects of bitterness?
What do you want God to help you accomplish in the rest of your life? What do you need to let go of so that he can work fully in and through you?
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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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