Friday, February 12, 2016

Bitter or Better? It's Your Choice!

Our oldest son, Benjamin, was one of the youngest pastors in our area when he was only 19. He pastored two churches before he decided to return to school full time to complete his degrees and eventually he will become a professor. While he is full time in university he also pulpit supplies at local churches and is a teacher's assistant to one of his professors. But more than those accomplishments what makes me the proudest is the man he has become. 

Benjamin is a true gentle-man. He has a compassionate, tender heart. He is protective and a champion of the under dog. He is honest and has great integrity. Yes, he makes me proud to be his mama. 

He recently wrote the following article that I wanted to share with you today. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have:

In this life, you will have people who do wrong by you. There will be those who harm you unintentionally, and there may be those who will treat you poorly or brutally intending to do harm. This is an unavoidable truth; no matter how greatly you attempt to insulate yourself, you will be hurt and/or mistreated. The old response is well known: "you get better or you get bitter." 

The problem is when we choose to hold on tightly to the hurt. We do not want our sufferings denigrated by those who did not experience what we have, so we refuse to move on. We do not want people to forget what happened to us or to somehow explain it away as having not taken place, so we craft our identities around our hurt. This is so much more than simply becoming bitter; this is a determination to never allow personal or corporate betterment; this is a choice to become the pain we feel.

Our other option is to move forward. This does not mean forgetting or denying that we suffered. Moving forward does not mean we are betraying our sufferings or that of others. Instead, it is a determination of its own right; it is a choice to proclaim, "it hurt and I cannot forget, but I am more than my pain and sufferings." It is a decision to grow, to live. Moving forward is not leaving behind memory, but leaving behind offence and the process of identifying only with sufferings. We are more than merely our experiences, and certainly more than only our sufferings. 

It is not simply that you "get bitter or get better;" it is that you become your sufferings or you allow them to be a step along the way to life. You essentially choose to remain in death and pain or to use the pain to step forward into life. What will you choose?

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