The Destructive Nature Of Bitterness
"And Absalom spoke to his brother Amnon neither good nor bad. For Absalom hated Amnon because he had forced his sister Tamar" (2 Samuel 13:23 NKJV).
A few years ago, a very good brother in the Lord, brother Jones shared with us how he was ill-treated as a child by his aunt and later by his step-mother and his hot-tempered father. Being a boy of about thirteen years, and out of fear, he ran away from his aunt to go live with his father and stepmother with the hope of breaking free from abuse and hunger.
Knowing Christ Changes The Heart To Love
Now as our dear brother Jones recalled, the days of him going without food or hanging around friends with the hope of getting an invitation for a plate of food were soon things of the past as there was always food at his father's home. However, his stepmother harbored a strong dislike in him as he was threatening her and her children's financial security. Those of us who grew up having step-parents know the conflict of competing for resources.
Furthermore, considering the graphic explanation from our brother Jones, I have expected him to be bitter and harboring grudges. As humans, when somebody details cruelty and abuse we naturally develop feelings of dislike towards the abuser and sympathy for the victim. By instinct, when we hear such stories we often desire 'revenge' or retribution, but our beloved brother Jones was calm and full of love for the abusers, instead, he blessed those who persecuted him (Matthew 5:44).
Changing Others Through Forgiveness
In addition, we could tell by the way Brother Jones explained that he was not bitter nor did he harbor any grudges. Being a personal friend of this family, we have witnessed how often brother Jones would visit and being a blessing financially to those who ill-treated him. Also, despite his broken relationship with his abuser, our brother Jones seemed to have never lost his respect for those elders (Leviticus 19:32; 1 Timothy 5:1). Thus, as Christians, the Bible says we must imitate such people (Hebrews 6:12) as this is for our spiritual good making us Christ-like and fruit-bearing followers (1 Peter 2:23).
In conclusion, when we read further we discover how hatred and bitterness led Absolom to his destruction and his violent death (2 Samuel 17:14; 18:10-15). Being a God-fearing man, King David feared the Lord and would not avenge himself, instead, he allowed for God's judgment (1 Samuel 25:30-34) through the wise and spirit-filled words of his wife Abigail.
Now, how many of us just continue unabated hating and struggle to forgive others? It reminds me of someone who said that when he comes across a person who wronged him the hateful feelings just flares up over again. Brethren, this is a serious sin, the Lord once rebuked two sisters for their hatred for each other saying if He would have come at that hour they would have missed the Rapture. Like our Brother Jones said, he asked the Lord to put sympathy and love in his heart for those who abused him, and he made it a daily prayer request until the hate was converted into love (Matthew 5:44). Therefore trust these words of the Lord in the preceding verse it works and many Christians including my family and I have experienced deliverance and love for those who wronged us.
Blessed love and being free from grudges